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Optical Micro-Spectrometer with Sub-Nanometer Resolution

I. Avrutsky, K. Chaganti, I. Salakhutdinov and G. Auner
Wayne State University, US

microspectrometer, diffractive optics, waveguide, grating

We develop a super compact optical fluorescence spectrometer. Our unique innovative design combines advantages of guided wave planar optics and free-space microoptics. This innovation allows for miniaturization that is not achievable with pure planar or pure free-space optics.
A prototype device has volume of its optical part below 1cm3. The spectrometer covers 450nm-650nm spectral range, and provides spectral resolution of 0.5nm. Within the proposed concept, the micro-spectrometer can be re-designed to fit the specific application requirements, e.g., cover a wider spectral range, improve the spectral resolution, or increase the input channels count by slightly increasing the total volume of the device. Next generation prototype, currently under development, will have volume below 10mm3, cover the entire visible range from 400nm-700nm, provide spectral resolution of at leas 2nm, and work simultaneously with up to 35 independent optical inputs.
The targeted application is on-chip diagnostic systems, in particular for detection of hazardous materials, chemical and biological warfare. Currently available microspectrometers are either too bulky or do not provide necessary spectral resolution. Another application is in DNA micro-array readers. A completely integrated miniature spectrometer that can simultaneously resolve fluorescence spectra from dozens of spots of a microarray will allow for a fast and accurate analysis.

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