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Chip-Based Sensors With Incredible Sensitivity

By Penn State News

November 9, 2017

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Researchers at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) have created an ultrasensitive microchip-based sensor called an optical whispering gallery mode resonator.

Led by PSU professor Srinivas Tadigadapa, the team has grown on-chip glass microspherical shells, which could be used for motion, temperature, pressure, or biochemical sensing.

"The bottom of the sphere is thinned until it is basically a hole," Tadigadapa says. "You can put the light on the outside of the sphere but do all the chemistry on the inner face of the shell."

Tadigadapa notes depositing an analyte on the inner surface opens up possibilities for chemical sensing, vapor sensing, biophysical sensing, pressure sensing, and temperature sensing.

A key breakthrough was the finding that placing the equatorial plane of the sphere above the surface of the chip ensures the device's high quality.

"We make the bubbles and then take them to [a] lab to get the resonance levels and make the measurements," says PSU's Chenchen Zhang.

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