Abstract

We demonstrate a novel, to the best of our knowledge, refractive index (RI) sensor based on the Vernier effect in dual-microfiber coupler (MFC) structures. The sensor sensitivity was studied both theoretically and experimentally. The numerical results show that by tracing the wavelength shifts of the envelope formed by the Vernier effect, the sensitivity can be improved by several times compared to that obtained for normal coupler-based sensors. In this Letter, two MFCs with a width and free spectral range (FSR) of $\sim{3.5}\;{\unicode{x00B5} \rm m}$ and 6 nm, respectively, were fabricated. Based on the sensitivity of 5820 nm/RIU for a single coupler, we experimentally achieved an ultra-high sensitivity of 126,540 nm/RIU using dual MFCs by the Vernier effect in the RI range of 1.3350 to 1.3455, which shows good agreement with numerical simulations. The proposed all-fiber RI sensor has the advantages of high sensitivity and low cost and can find applications in chemical and biological detection as well as electronic/magnetic field measurement.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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