Abstract

We report that low-loss ridge waveguides are directly written on nanoporous silicon layers by using an argon-ion laser at 514 nm up to 100 mW. Optical characterization of the waveguides indicates light propagation loss lower than 0.5dB/cm at 1550 nm after oxidation. A Mach–Zehnder interferometer sensor is experimentally demonstrated using the waveguide in its sensing branch, and analytical results indicate that very high sensitivity can be achieved. With large internal surface area, versatile surface chemistry, and adjustable index of refraction of porous silicon, the ridge waveguides can be used to configure Mach–Zehnder interferometers, Young’s interferometers, and other photonic devices for highly sensitive optical biosensors and chemical sensors as well as other applications.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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