Characterization of Evanescent Field Gas Sensor Structures Based on Silicon Photonics

Christian Ranacher, Cristina Consani, Natalie Vollert, Andreas Tortschanoff, Markus Bergmeister, Thomas Grille, Bernhard Jakoby

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Photonic sensors that operate in the mid-infrared spectral range are an emerging field for photonic microsystems. In this paper, we present a photonic gas sensor concept based on silicon waveguides using infrared evanescent field absorption. The waveguides were specifically designed for CO2 sensing at a wavelength of λ =4.26 μ m as possible application for the proposed sensor platform. The waveguide cross section as well as the substructure were investigated using finite-element simulations and the devised structures were fabricated using mass fabrication processes exclusively. In order to evaluate the potential for long interaction path lengths using polysilicon strip waveguides, a study on the intrinsic losses of polysilicon waveguides was conducted. The lowest intrinsic damping that was obtained for polysilicon strip waveguides was 3.98 dB/cm. Furthermore, the sensing capability of the devised waveguides was tested with quantitative CO2 measurements down to a concentration of 500 ppm CO2. From the quantitative measurements, the evanescent field ratio was estimated and was in the range between η =14%-16%.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Photonics Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Optical gas sensing
  • evanescent field absorption
  • integrated silicon photonics
  • intrinsic losses.
  • silicon waveguide


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