Abstract

A simple sensor element consisting of a side-polished single-mode fiber and a planar metal oxide waveguide is described. The thin ZnO planar waveguide was produced on the polished fiber surface by pulsed laser deposition at optimized processing parameters. A measurement scheme for in situ control of the film thickness during the deposition process was developed and used. X-ray diffraction measurements and scanning electron microscopy were used to characterize the structure and the surface morphology of the planar waveguide, respectively. The numerical evaluation of the sensor sensitivity predicts the possibility to detect refractive index changes of less than 104. Furthermore, preliminary gas sensor tests were performed by using a mixture of 1.5% butane diluted in N2 and pure butane. A shift of the spectral position of the resonance points was observed from 3 to 5 s after gas exposure, which corresponds to refractive index changes of 3×105 and 1.2×103 for 1.5% butane and for pure butane, respectively.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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