The fabrication of embedded microchannels monolithically integrated with optical waveguides by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition of doped silica glass is reported. Both waveguide ridges and template ridges for microchannel formation are patterned in a single photolithography step. The microchannels are formed within an overlay of borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG), which also serves as the top cladding layer of the silica waveguides. No top sealing of the channels is required. Surface accessible fluid input ports are formed in a BPSG layer, with no additional steps, by appropriate design of template layers. By tightly controlling the refractive index of the waveguide layer and the microchannel-forming layer, fully integrated structures facilitating optical coupling between solid waveguides and liquids segments in various geometries are demonstrated. Applications in liquid-filled photonic device elements for novel nonlinear optical devices and in optical sensors and on-chip spectroscopy are outlined.
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