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Substrate-Integrated Hollow Waveguides: A New Level of Integration in Mid-Infrared Gas Sensing

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journal contribution
posted on 03.12.2013, 00:00 by Andreas Wilk, J. Chance Carter, Michael Chrisp, Anastacia M. Manuel, Paul Mirkarimi, Jennifer B. Alameda, Boris Mizaikoff
A new generation of hollow waveguide (HWG) gas cells of unprecedented compact dimensions facilitating low sample volumes suitable for broad- and narrow-band mid-infrared (MIR; 2.5–20 μm) sensing applications is reported: the substrate-integrated hollow waveguide (iHWG). iHWGs are layered structures providing light guiding channels integrated into a solid-state substrate material, which are competitive if not superior in performance to conventional leaky-mode fiber optic silica HWGs having similar optical pathlengths. In particular, the provided flexibility in device and optical design and the wide variety of manufacturing strategies, substrate materials, access to the optical channel, and optical coating options highlight the advantages of iHWGs in terms of robustness, compactness, and cost-effectiveness. Finally, the unmatched modularity of this novel waveguide approach facilitates tailoring iHWGs to almost any kind of gas sensor technology providing adaptability to the specific demands of a wide range of sensing scenarios. Device fabrication is demonstrated for the example of a yin-yang-shaped gold-coated iHWG fabricated within an aluminum substrate with a footprint of only 75 mm × 50 mm × 12 mm (L × W × H), yet providing a nominal optical absorption path length of more than 22 cm. The analytical utility of this device for advanced MIR gas sensing applications is demonstrated for the gaseous constituents butane, carbon dioxide, cyclopropane, isobutylene, and methane.