Abstract

Optical whispering gallery modes (WGMs) were observed in elastic scattering spectra recorded from oil-in-water emulsion droplets in a microfluidic channel. Droplets with diameters ranging between 15 and 50 μm were trapped by optical tweezers near the tip of a single mode fiber that enabled the excitation of the WGMs using a tunable laser. Quality factors of the WGMs were observed to increase with droplet size. WGMs with quality factors of more than 104 were observed for droplets with diameters around 45 μm. In some cases, recorded WGMs drifted monotonically to the blue end of the spectrum due to droplet dissolution in the host liquid. Fluctuating spectral shifts to both blue and red ends of the spectrum were also observed. These were attributed to the presence of randomly diffusing particulate contaminants in the droplet liquid, indicating the potential of optically trapped droplet resonators for optical sensing applications.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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