In this paper, we present an optofluidic waveguide platform consisting of liquid as a core material and air as cladding, enabled by using a superhydrophobic channel featured with hydrophobized high-aspect-ratio sharp-tip nanostructures. The contact of the liquid core with the superhydrophobic channel wall is minimized with an air layer retained between them so that the effective refractive index of the cladding layer is close to that of air. Thus, when light is introduced through the core liquid having a higher refractive index than that of the cladding air at the incident angle parallel to the channel direction less than a critical angle, it is reflected at the liquid-gas interface by the total internal reflection. When the cladding layer is filled with water (i.e., Wenzel state), the waveguide losses for the incident angles of 0 and 10° were ∼3.9 and ∼6.8 dB/cm, respectively. In contrast, when the cladding layer is retained with air (i.e., Cassie-Baxter state), the waveguide losses for the same incident angles were as low as ∼0.1 and ∼1.8 dB/cm, respectively. The significantly lowered waveguide losses at the Cassie-Baxter state indicate that superhydrophobic channels can provide the effective waveguide platform for optofluidics, exploiting the air layer as the cladding material.
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Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)
K. Du, I. Wathuthanthri, J. Ding, C.H. Choi, "Superhydrophobic waveguide: Liquid-core air-cladding waveguide platform for optofluidics," Appl. Phys. Lett. 113, 143701 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5049692
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Originally published in Applied Physics Letters: https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5049692