Scientific Results

A self-operating broadband spectrometer on a droplet

Year: 2020

Authors: Malara P., Giorgini A., Avino S., Di Sarno V., Aiello R., Maddaloni P., De Natale P., Gagliardi G.

Autors Affiliation: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO), via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078 Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy; Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO), Largo E. Fermi 6, 50125 Firenze, Italy

Abstract: Small-scale Fourier transform spectrometers are rapidly revolutionizing infrared spectro-chemical analysis, enabling on-site and remote sensing applications that were hardly imaginable just few years ago. While most devices reported to date rely on advanced photonic integration technologies, here we demonstrate a miniaturization strategy which harnesses unforced mechanisms, such as the evaporation of a liquid droplet on a partially reflective substrate. Based on this principle, we describe a self-operating optofluidic spectrometer and the analysis method to retrieve consistent spectral information in spite of the intrinsically non-reproducible droplet formation and evaporation dynamics. We experimentally realize the device on the tip of an optical fiber and demonstrate quantitative measurements of gas absorption with a 2.6 nm resolution, in a 100 s acquisition time, over the 250 nm span allowed by our setup’s components. A direct comparison with a commercial optical analyzer clearly points out that a simple evaporating droplet can be an efficient small-scale, inexpensive spectrometer, competitive with the most advanced integrated photonic devices. Compact spectrometers can be useful in many applications and many sophisticated architectures have been proposed. In this work, the authors show that with an evaporating droplet on a fiber tip, spectrometry can be robustly and accurately performed with a simple and passive microfluidic system.


Volume: 11 (1)      Pages from: 2263-1  to: 2263-5

KeyWords: spectrometer, spectroscopy, FTIR, fiber optic.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16206-8

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