Abstract

We report on a functional optical microfiber mode interferometer and its applications for absolute, temperature-insensitive refractive index sensing. A standard optical fiber was tapered down to 10 μm. The central part of the taper, i.e., the microfiber, is connected to the untapered regions with two identical abrupt transitions. The transmission spectrum of our device exhibited a sinusoidal pattern due to the beating between modes. In our interferometer the period of the pattern—an absolute parameter—depends strongly on the surrounding refractive index but it is insensitive to temperature changes. The period, hence the external index, can be accurately measured by taking the fast Fourier transform (FFT) of the detected interference pattern. The measuring refractive index range of the device here proposed goes from 1.33 to 1.428 and the maximum resolution is on the order of 3.7×106.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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