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Authors: K. Saurav, N. Le Thomas
Title: Probing the fundamental detection limit of photonic crystal cavities
Format: International Journal
Publication date: 6/2017
Journal/Conference/Book: Optica
Volume(Issue): 4(7) p.757-763
Internal Reference: [N-2071]
Download: Download this Publication (1.4MB) (1.4MB)

Abstract

The accurate characterization of single nano particles in colloidal solutions in terms of their size and morphology is important for medical diagnostics and aerosol investigations. However it is challenging to achieve a high throughput for very small sub-100 nm particles. In particular it is not well established what the fundamental limits are on the trade-off between speed and smallest detectable particle. Here we study these limits for the case of refractive index sensing based on resonant photonic crystal cavities. Importantly, we have reached a regime where the fundamental thermal fluctuations set the intrinsic detection limit for acquisition sampling times tacq larger than 3μs. Such an intrinsic fundamental limit corresponds to 1/2000th the linewidth of the optical spectrum of photonic crystal cavities of effective mode volume as small as 0.06μm3. The results of this work indicate that it is possible to monitor up to 33 million particles per second with a particle size down to 34nm, making it a promising technique for fast real-time biosensing.

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