Abstract

The turning point of the refractive index (RI) sensitivity based on the multimode microfiber (MMMF) in-line Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) is observed. By tracking the resonant wavelength shift of the MZI generated between the HE11 and HE12 modes in the MMMF, the surrounding RI (SRI) could be detected. Theoretical analysis demonstrates that the RI sensitivity will reach ± on either side of the turning point due to the group effective RI difference (G) approaching zero. Significantly, the positive sensitivity exists in a very wide fiber diameter range, while the negative sensitivity can be achieved in a narrow diameter range of only 0.3 μm. Meanwhile, the experimental sensitivities and variation trend at different diameters exhibit high consistency with the theoretical results. High RI sensitivity of 10777.8 nm/RIU (RI unit) at the fiber diameter of 4.6 μm and the RI around 1.3334 is realized. The discovery of the sensitivity turning points has great significance on trace detection due to the possibility of ultrahigh RI sensitivity.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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