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Harsh-environment-resistant OH-vibrations-sensitive mid-infrared water-ice photonic sensor

: Martinez, Javier; Rodenas, Airan; Stake, Andreas; Traveria, Miquel; Aguilo, Magdalena; Solis, Javier; Osellame, Roberto; Tanaka, Taro; Berton, Benoit; Kimura, Shigueo; Rehfeld, Nadine; Diaz, Francesc


Advanced materials technologies 2 (2017), No.8, pp.1-10
ISSN: 2365-709X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

State-of-the-art ultrahigh-sensitivity photonic sensing schemes rely on exposing the evanescent field of tightly confined light to the environment. Yet, this renders an inherent fragility to the device, and since adding a protective layer disables light exposure, there exists a technology gap for highly sensitive harsh-environment-resistant surface photonic sensors. Here, a novel type of mid-infrared waveguide sensors is reported which exploit vibrational resonance-driven directional coupling effects besides absorption, with optical sensing elements that can be buried (≈1–10 µm) and resist systematic exposure to industrial environments without failure. A harsh-environment-resistant, fiber-coupled, surface sensor for monitoring the structural phase of water (liquid-supercooled-solid), as well as the type of ice microstructure (clear rime), is shown. It is demonstrated how this type of sensor can be designed to detect ice layers with nanometric (≈100 nm) to microscopic (≈30 µm or higher) thicknesses, and the first experimental tests both in optical laboratory and in icing wind tunnel inflight aircraft simulation tests are reported.