This dissertation presents the fabrication of hollow optical waveguides integrated on planar substrates. Similar in principle to Bragg waveguides and other photonic crystal waveguides, the antiresonant reflecting optical waveguide (ARROW) is used to guide light in hollow cores filled with liquids or gases. Waveguides with liquid or gas cores are an important new building block for integrated optical sensors. The fabrication method developed for hollow ARROW waveguides makes use of standard microfabrication processes and materials. Dielectric layers are deposited on a silicon wafer using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) to form the bottom layers of the ARROW waveguide. A sacrificial core material is then deposited and patterned. Core materials used include aluminum, SU-8 and reflowed photoresist, each resulting in a different core geometry. Additional dielectric layers are then deposited, forming the top and sides of the waveguide. The sacrificial core is then removed in an acid solution, resulting in a hollow ARROW waveguide. Experiments investigating the mechanical strength of the hollow waveguides and the etching characteristics of the sacrificial core suggest design rules for the different core types. Integration of solid-core waveguides is accomplished by etching a ridge into the top dielectric layer of the ARROW structure. Improved optical performance can be obtained by forming the waveguides on top of a raised pedestal on the silicon substrate. Loss measurements on hollow ARROW waveguides fabricated in this manner gave loss coefficients of 0.26 cm-1 for liquid-core waveguides and 2.6 cm-1 for air-core waveguides. Fluorescence measurements in liquid-core ARROW waveguides have achieved single-molecule detection sensitivity. Integrated optical filters based on ARROW waveguides were fabricated, and preliminary results of a capillary electrophoresis separation device using a hollow ARROW indicate the feasibility of such devices for future investigation.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





ARROW waveguides, Bragg waveguides, integrated optics, optical sensors, photonic crystals, microfabrication, microfluidics, fluorescence, surface micromachining, planar fabrication