Phase-sensitive detection for optical sensing with porous silicon

J. Álvarez*, N. Kumar, P. Bettotti, D. Hill, J. Martínez-Pastor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on a photonic sensor with an ultralow limit of detection (LoD) based on a phase interrogation readout scheme together with an anisotropic porous silicon (PSi) membrane. First, the fabrication of porous free-standing membranes from medium doped (100) surface oriented silicon, with pore diameters suitable for the infiltration of biomolecules, around 50 nm, is reported. Then, the phase interrogation scheme for characterizing the PSi membranes is presented whose results show that while volumetric sensitivity increases with the membrane thickness, the resolution in the birefringence measurements decrease dramatically due to depolarization effects. The best LoD was found to be equal to 6.25 × 10 -6 RIU, from the thinnest 10-μm-thick membrane. Finally, the thermooptic coefficient of the 10 μm membrane was measured in an aqueous environment and shown to be equal to 8 × 10 -4 rad/°C.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6205328
Pages (from-to)986-995
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Photonics Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2012


  • fabrication and characterization
  • metrology
  • scattering
  • Sensors
  • subwavelength structures


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