Real-Time Optical Monitoring of Etching Reaction of Microfluidic Channel Fabricated by Femtosecond Laser Direct Writing

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João Miguel Maia
Vítor Oliveira Amorim
Daniel Alexandre
Paulo Vicente Marques
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Femtosecond laser direct writing is a three dimensional fabrication technique that can be applied to produce integrated optical components with high spatial resolution or microfluidic channels when combined with HF etching. The same fabrication technique can thus be employed to produce monolithic optofluidic devices for sensing applications. One of the most common sensing schemes involves evanescent optical interaction; therefore, the channel must meet some requirements regarding surface roughness, which will depend on the laser writing conditions, as described in this paper. However, of more significance is the distance between waveguiding medium and microfluidic channel that must be accurately defined. This control can be achieved by monitoring the etching reaction of a waveguide grating written a few microns from the channel, as introduced in this paper. In addition to its function as an etching monitor, the grating can also be used as a coarse refractive index sensor device.