Abstract

An approach to high-speed tracking of optical mode shifts of microresonators for wide-bandwidth sensing applications is presented. In the typical microresonator sensor, the whispering gallery optical modes (WGM) are excited by tangentially coupling tunable laser light into the resonator cavity, such as a microsphere. The light coupling is achieved by overlapping the evanescent field of the cavity with that of a prism or the tapered section of a single-mode optical fiber. The transmission spectrum through the fiber is observed to detect WGM shifts as the laser is tuned across a narrow wavelength range. High data rate transient-sensing applications require the tuning of the diode laser at high repetition rates and tracking of the WGM shifts. At high repetition rates, the thermal inertia prevents appropriate tuning of the laser, thus leading to smaller tuning ranges and waveform distortions. In the present paper, the laser is tuned using a harmonic (rather than ramp or triangular) waveform, and its output is calibrated at various input frequencies and amplitudes using a Fabry–Perot interferometer to account for the tuning range variations. The WGM shifts are tracked by performing a modified cross-correlation method on the transmission spectra. Force sensor experiments were performed using ramp and harmonic waveform tuning of the diode laser with rates up to 10 kHz. Results show that the harmonic tuning of the laser eliminates the high-speed transient thermal effects. The thermal model developed to predict the laser tuning agrees well the experiments.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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