MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
This study will seek to demonstrate experimentally the existence of new types of magnetically tunable optical band gaps recently predicted by the PIs. The project will design, fabricate and characterize functional photonic crystal structures based on this effect in magnetic garnet films. It will conduct a theoretical and experimental study of controllable photonic band gaps in one- and two-dimensional magneto-optic photonic crystals, and will fabricate and characterize a new type of highly sensitive on-chip biochemical sensor based on this new effect.
The project's intellectual merit resides in the investigation of novel magnetically tunable optical band gaps resulting from the coupling between local optical normal modes in birefringent magneto-optic photonic crystals. A recently proposed photonic-state coupling mechanism by the PIs for highly sensitive polarization response to refractive index changes in these magneto-photonic crystals will be studied theoretically and experimentally and applied to biosensor development. The proposed optical biosensor is unique in that it relies on changes in polarization state as its transduction signal, where extremely sensitive and mature detection techniques such as ellipsometry exist.
Biosensors have vast applications to environmental monitoring, healthcare and homeland security. An advance in optical bio-sensing broadly applicable to toxic and non-toxic substance detection is proposed with compatible and potentially better sensitivity to the most advanced tag-free sensing techniques available. This project will involve participation of high school women and Native American students by partnering with Michigan Tech's Summer Youth Program and its Women in Engineering Program. The proposed activity will also seek to develop partnerships with industry to explore technological applications of magneto-photonic crystals. Contacts have already been initiated with Integrated Photonics, Inc. for the development of optical biosensors.