The Q-factor of an optical resonance device determines the width of its transmission resonances. For this reason, in sensing applications of optical resonators, it is commonly assumed that the Q-factor fully determines resonator sensitivity. Practically, the latter is not exactly correct. In this Letter, the parameters responsible for the sensitivity of resonance devices (i.e., the steepness and the sharpness of the transmission resonance) are analyzed. It is shown that, for given intrinsic losses of a single ring resonator sensor, the slope of the resonance is largest if its extinction ratio is , while the resonance is sharpest if its extinction ratio is . For a sensor consisting of several identical ring resonators coupled to a bus waveguide, the largest slope and sharpness parameters correspond to the extinction ratios of and , respectively. The determined optimum parameters can be achieved by tuning the coupling between the resonator rings and the waveguide.
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