Abstract

We have experimentally studied the surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based fiber-optic refractive index sensor incorporating a high-index dielectric layer using the wavelength interrogation method. Silver and gold have been used as SPR active metals followed by a high-index dielectric layer of silicon. Experimental results predict a redshift in the resonance wavelength with the increase in the refractive index of the sensing layer for a given thickness of the silicon layer. Further, as the thickness of the silicon layer increases, the sensitivity of the sensor increases. The upper limit of the silicon film thickness for the enhancement of the sensitivity has been found to be around 10nm. The experimental results obtained on sensitivity match qualitatively with the theoretical results obtained using the N-layer model and the ray approach. The increase in sensitivity is due to the increase in the electric field intensity at the silicon-sensing-region interface. In addition to an increase in sensitivity, the silicon layer can be used to tune the resonance wavelength and can protect the metal layer from oxidation and hence can improve the durability of the probe.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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