Whispering-Gallery Sensors

Xuefeng Jiang, Abraham J. Qavi, Steven H. Huang, Lan Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations

Abstract

Optical whispering-gallery mode (WGM) microresonators, confining resonant photons in a microscale volume for long periods of time, strongly enhance light-matter interactions, making them an ideal platform for photonic sensors. One of the features of WGM sensors is their capability to respond to environmental perturbations that influence the optical mode distribution. The exceptional sensitivity of WGM devices, coupled with the diversity in their structures and the ease of integration with existing infrastructures, such as conventional chip-based technologies, has catalyzed the development of WGM sensors for a broad range of analytes. WGM sensors have been developed for multiplexed detection of clinically relevant biomolecules while also being adapted for the analysis of single-protein interactions. They have been used for the detection of materials in different phases and forms, including gases, liquids, and chemicals. Furthermore, WGM sensors have been used for a wide variety of field-based sensing applications, including electric field, magnetic field, force, pressure, and temperature. WGM sensors hold great potential for applications in life and environmental sciences. They are expected to meet the ever-increasing demand in sensor networks, the Internet of Things, and real-time health monitoring. Here we review the mechanisms, structures, parameters, and recent advances of WGM microsensors and discuss the future of this exciting research field. As a sensing platform that strongly enhances light-matter interactions, whispering-gallery mode (WGM) microresonators have been used for the detection of not only physical matters, such as nanoparticles, small bio/chemical molecules, or gases, but also physical parameters or fields surrounding the resonator that influence the optical modes, for example temperature, pressure, force, electric field, and magnetic field. During the last two decades, a variety of sensing mechanisms and enhancement techniques has been developed for WGM sensors. The future research efforts of WGM sensors will find numerous opportunities in life, health, and environmental sciences and are expected to meet the ever-increasing demand in sensor networks, the Internet of Things, and real-time health monitoring. Moreover, the developments of novel cavity structures and sensing enhancement mechanisms or techniques are always one of the research focuses in this area. Optical whispering-gallery mode (WGM) microresonators, confining resonant photons in a microscale volume for long periods of time, strongly enhance light-matter interactions, making them an ideal platform for photonic sensors. One of the features of WGM sensors is their capability to respond to environmental perturbations that influence the optical mode distribution. The exceptional sensitivity of WGM devices, coupled with the diversity in their structures and the ease of integration with existing infrastructures, such as conventional chip-based technologies, has catalyzed the development of WGM sensors for a broad range of analytes. WGM sensors have been developed for multiplexed detection of clinically relevant biomolecules while also being adapted for the analysis of single-protein interactions. They have been used for the detection of materials in different phases and forms, including gases, liquids, and chemicals. Furthermore, WGM sensors have been used for a wide variety of field-based sensing applications, including electric/magnetic fields, force/pressure, and temperature. WGM sensors hold great potential for applications in life and environmental sciences. They are expected to meet the ever-increasing demand in sensor networks, the Internet of Things, and real-time health monitoring. Here we review the mechanisms, structures, parameters, and recent advances of WGM microsensors and discuss the future of this exciting research field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-392
Number of pages22
JournalMatter
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2020

Keywords

  • biosensing
  • microresonators
  • optical sensors
  • sensing
  • sensors
  • whispering gallery mode

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