Techniques in Optical Coherence and Resonance for Sensing
Optical sensors are ubiquitous for their precision and non-contact acquisition, and have enjoyed widespread use in applications such as biosensing, environmental monitoring, and security. Despite their sensitivity, many of these sensors rely on costly laboratory instrumentation, and are not adaptable to the ever-growing volume of consumer detectors and optics that are readily available, making their application limited to benchtop analytics. This work leverages plasmonic resonances and optical coherence phenomena to make modifications upon traditional sensing formats that improve their sensitivity when deployed in off-the-shelf optical systems. In particular, we demonstrate that label-free plasmonic sensors can be combined with electrochemical impedance spectroscopic biosensors to tackle the problem of specificity in label-free sesning, demonstrate the novel use case for the plasmonic detection of thermal infrared radiation, and show that plasmonic imaging is conducive to the characterization of nanometric thin liquid films. Moreover, we show that by introducing limited dispersion to Fourier transform spectroscopy, we can efficiently use camera detector formats and imaging systems to implement a high resolution scan-less Fourier transform spectrometer. By improving the figures of merit for sensor devices, we aim to translate traditional analytical sensing instrumentation from the laboratory benchtop into the consumer marketplace, and to spearhead a host of new applications.