Optical sensing using microspheres with different size and material

Narges Miri, Morteza Mohammadzaheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


If light is trapped inside a microsphere and resonance occurs, the resonance modes known as whispering gallery modes could be employed for sensing the environment around the microsphere. The discrepancy of the resonance wavelengths for the microsphere surrounded by different media quantifies the sensing ability of the microsphere. However, the microsphere size and material are crucial factors on determining the minimum detection limit (DL) of the microsphere as a sensor. Therefore, through investigating an appropriate size and material for the microsphere, the sensing performance and efficiency of the microresonator increase. In this paper, through a comprehensive experimental study, different refractometric microspheres are presented and their optical properties are measured and analyzed. The microspheres, five different size polystyrene and one size silica microspheres, are coated with quantum dots (QDs) and the QDs are excited by an Nd:YAG laser. Then, the microspheres sensing ability is quantified when their surrounding environment is modified. According to the presented results, the microspheres' DL, in direct proportion to the microsphere size, corresponds well to the theory. In addition, comparing the optical properties of the microspheres indicates the optimum size for the polymer microspheres to detect the environment. Furthermore, the optical properties of the silica microsphere illustrate a better performance of glass microspheres over polymer microspheres. This paper moves forward actual knowledge and evidence of extant modeling theory. It investigates a more efficient physical feature for a microsphere as a sensor. This is a key interim stage in developing more sensitive and effective sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6826468
Pages (from-to)3593-3598
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Whispering gallery modes (WGMs)
  • detection limit
  • material
  • microsphere
  • optical sensing
  • size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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