Abstract

We investigated the feasibility of using a silica microsphere sensor for detection of small molecules. Using the silica molecules (60 Da) at the sphere’s surface as a model system, we measured the spectral shifts in the whispering-gallery modes (WGMs) when the sphere size was decreased by a hydrofluoric acid (HF) solution. The results demonstrate that our sensor is capable of detecting a 4 pm (or 0.01 layer of silica) decrease in sphere radius, corresponding to a change of 0.4 fmol silica molecule. These results suggest that small molecules can be detected in trace quantities at the surface of an optical microsphere sensor.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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