Abstract

We propose a novel, highly sensitive refractive index (RI) sensor by means of combining the Kretschmann prism with a TiO2 nanowire array and do not use a metallic layer in the Kretschmann configuration. Its RI sensing performance was investigated through measuring different concentrations of sodium chloride solution. Experimental results showed that, with increasing RI of liquid, the resonant wavelength in the reflectance spectrum redshifted gradually in the visible light range. There was a very good linear relationship between resonant wavelength and RI in the range of 1.3330 to 1.3546. More importantly, in contrast to the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor, the interferometric sensors showed higher sensitivity to the external RI. In the case of the transverse magnetic mode, the RI sensitivity is up to 320,700.93 a.u./RIU (refractive index unit) by expression of light intensity, which is 9.55 times that of the SPR sensor. As for the transverse electric mode, it achieves 4371.76 nm/RIU by expression of the resonant wavelength, which is increased by a factor of 1.4 in comparison with the SPR sensor. Moreover, the experimental results have favorable repeatability. A TiO2 nanowire array sensor has also other advantages, such as easy manufacturing, low cost, and in situ determination, etc. To our knowledge, this fact is reported for the first time. It has great potential applications in the field of biological and chemical sensing.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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