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Degeneracy Breaking of Wood’s Anomaly for Enhanced Refractive Index Sensing

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posted on 20.05.2015, 00:00 authored by Michal Eitan, Zeev Iluz, Yuval Yifat, Amir Boag, Yael Hanein, Jacob Scheuer
We introduce an ultrasensitive detection technique for refractive index (RI) sensing based on an array of nanometer scale slot-antennas milled in a thin gold layer using a single lithographic step. Our experimental figures of merit (FOMs) of 140–210 in the telecom wavelength range approach the fundamental limit for standard propagating SPR sensors (∼250).The underlying mechanism enabling this is the combination of a narrowband resonance of the slot-antennas with degeneracy breaking of Wood’s anomaly under slightly nonperpendicular illumination. In addition, we explore the sensitivity of the device to the depth of the analyte layer. This concept can be easily tuned to any desired wavelength and RI range by modifying the slot dimensions and the array spacing, thus rendering it highly useful for numerous sensing applications.