Vertically coupled plasmonic slot waveguide cavity for localized biosensing applications
We propose and study an integrated refractive index sensor which is based on a plasmonic slot waveguide cavity. In this device, a guided mode supported by a silicon photonic wire waveguide is vertically coupled to a metal-dielectric-metal cavity separated by a silicon oxide spacer. We perform an in-depth study that links the geometrical parameters of the sensor to the coupling mechanism and sensitivity of the plasmonic slot waveguide cavity. Simulation results promise that local changes of refractive index can be measured with a high sensitivity of around 600 nm/RIU in a femto-liter volume. These results are obtained with threedimensional time and frequency domain simulations. Thanks to the high field enhancement in the slot of the plasmonic cavity, a high local sensitivity to changes of refractive index is obtained. Moreover, the high level of achieved decoupling between the bulk and the local sensitivity complies well with the requirements of biomolecular sensing.