The thin glass threads of conventional optical fibers underpin our information-driven
society, moving data in the form of light pulses at breakneck speeds around
the globe. Now, a new type of optical fiber, called photonic crystal fiber (PCF),
is set to revolutionize the performance of fiber-optic devices. PCF contains
a periodic arrangement of small air holes that can manipulate the behavior of
photons, enabling control over the transmission of light in ways never seen
PCF has a number of important uses besides telecommunications, particularly
in the field of chemical sensing. By filling the micro-sized cavities of PCF
with small amounts of liquid sample, scientists can identify and quantify which
molecules are present through evanescent field absorption spectroscopy—a
technique that measures how a propagating wave of light interacts with specific
chemical structural groups. Because PCF is an extremely efficient light trap,
these fibers have the potential to greatly boost signal strength and reduce
noise during adsorption experiments.
Xia Yu from the Singapore
Institute of Manufacturing Technology at A*STAR and her Singapore-based
co-workers have now developed a PCF with twice the sensitivity of typical optical
absorption instruments, based on an array of hexagonally shaped air holes1.
The small size and highly accurate readings of this new fiber make it suitable
for microchip-sized medical devices, such as implantable sensors.
here to read the full article.