Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Lawrence A Hornak


Integrated opto-electronic and nanophotonic devices for sensing application in the fields of medicine, microbiology, environmental, safety and defense have attracted considerable attention due to their potential for achieving greater compactness, shorter response times and higher sensitivities as compared to non-optical sensing systems. Optical cavity resonant devices such as Fabry--Perot interferometers have been extensively used in lasing applications and optical sensing has been accomplished through many similar technologies.;Fiber optic and planar waveguide based resonant devices which use evanescent waves for detection of refractive index changes are one of the most widely used approaches for photonic sensors. In this work we investigate the simulations, fabrication and characterization of resonant optical cavity devices for sensing applications. Morphology Dependent Resonances (MDRs) of planar, micro-spherical and micro-cylindrical cavities were reviewed for resonance line widths, spacing between modes, and density of resonances and experimental observations of internal and external field distributions. We focus on planar thin film stacked resonant waveguide geometries, microsphere-waveguide coupled resonances, cylindrical Gallium Nitride (GaN) microdisks for passive detection of Whispering Gallery Modes (WGMs) and electrically pumped active Resonant Cavity (RC) LED disk geometries for Vertical Cavity Modes (VCMs) as structures of interest.;Advances in stacked thin film coupled waveguide sensors enhance the selectivity and sensitivity by measuring the changes of the resonant optical modes and provide an integrated platform for label-free molecular detection. The effective surface loading detection sensitivity of the planar coupled alumina waveguide transducer was determined to be 20 pg/mm2 with a bulk index sensitivity of 5.6x10-4 Refractive Index Units (RIU) for aqueous sucrose solutions. For circular geometry based resonators, as the physical device size approaches the wavelength of light the MDRs are enhanced by retaining longer photon path length times and enhancing detection due to its high Q factors. Circular micro-cavities not only modify the optical resonances but also distribute the resonant frequencies as compared to a planar macro-cavity. The waveguide-coupled microspheres were experimentally detected to have a minimum surface coverage limit of 0.192%. Passive WGMs in GaN micro-disks showed a variation in mode spacing of 3nm to 7nm (lambda2/2piRn) as disk radius was reduced from 4.5microm to 2microm. Micro-cylindrical Distributed Bragg Reflector (DBR) RCLEDs were designed for layer thicknesses and Multi Quantum Well (MQW) placement to enhance VCMs and LED emission output. Experimental and simulated LED spectral minima matched at 432 nm and 451 nm confirming VCMs related to (lambda/2) cavity resonances.