Versatile liquid-core optofluidic waveguides fabricated in hydrophobic silica aerogels by femtosecond-laser ablation

Yalizay B., Morova Y., Dincer K., Ozbakir Y., Jonas A., Erkey C., ...More

Optical Materials, vol.47, pp.478-483, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.optmat.2015.06.024
  • Journal Name: Optical Materials
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.478-483
  • Keywords: Optofluidics, Light waveguides, Microfluidics, Aerogels, Femtosecond laser ablation, TEFLON-AF, REFRACTIVE-INDEX, CHANNELS, SENSORS, MICROFABRICATION, MICROCHANNELS, LIGHT, GLASS, CELL
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.We report on the fabrication and characterization of versatile light waveguides exploiting filaments of a polar liquid confined within hydrophobic silica aerogels. Aerogels are highly porous materials with extremely low refractive index which makes them suitable as rigid cladding of liquid-core optofluidic waveguides based on total internal reflection of light. In this article, we introduce a new microfabrication technique that allows direct and precise processing of monolithic silica aerogels by ablation with femtosecond laser pulses. Using fast scanning of the focused laser ablation beam synchronized with the motion of the processed aerogel sample, we created high-quality straight microchannels of ∼5 mm length with controlled cross-sections inside monolithic aerogels. After the ablation, we filled the channels with high-refractive index ethylene glycol, forming multimode liquid core - solid cladding optofluidic waveguides. Subsequently, we carried out light-guiding experiments to measure overall optical attenuation of these waveguides. The characterization of waveguide transmission yielded values of propagation losses lower than 10dBcm-1, demonstrating that the liquid-core waveguides with laser-ablated aerogel cladding represent an attractive alternative in optofluidic applications targeting controlled routing of light along arbitrary three-dimensional paths.