, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 3-15
Date: 22 Sep 2011

Optical nanofibers and spectroscopy

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Abstract

We review our recent progress in the production and characterization of tapered optical fibers with a sub-wavelength diameter waist. Such fibers exhibit a pronounced evanescent field and are therefore a useful tool for highly sensitive evanescent wave spectroscopy of adsorbates on the fiber waist or of the medium surrounding. We use a carefully designed flame pulling process that allows us to realize preset fiber diameter profiles. In order to determine the waist diameter and to verify the fiber profile, we employ scanning electron microscope measurements and a novel accurate in situ optical method based on harmonic generation. We use our fibers for linear and nonlinear absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy of surface-adsorbed organic molecules and investigate their agglomeration dynamics. Furthermore, we apply our spectroscopic method to quantum dots on the surface of the fiber waist and to cesium vapor surrounding the fiber. Finally, toward dispersive measurements, we present our first results on building and testing a single-fiber bimodal interferometer.