Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Electrical Engineering


Xiao, Hai

Committee Member

Johnson , Eric

Committee Member

Zhu , Lin

Committee Member

Gao , Zhi


Optical microresonators have been proven as an effective means for sensing applications. The high quality (Q) optical whispering gallery modes (WGMs) circulating around the rotationally symmetric structures can interact with the local environment through the evanescent field. The high sensitivity in detection was achieved by the long photon lifetime of the high-Q resonator (thus the long light-environment interaction path). The environmental variation near the resonator surface leads to the effective refractive index change and thus a shift at the resonance wavelength. In this Dissertation, we present our recent research on the development of new optical microresonators for sensing applications. Different structures and materials are used to develop optical resonator for broad sensing applications. Specifically, a new coupling method is designed and demonstrated for efficient excitation of microsphere resonators. The new coupler is made by fusion splicing an optical fiber with a capillary tube and consequently etching the capillary wall to a thickness of a few microns. Light is coupled through the peripheral contact between inserted microsphere and the etched capillary wall. Operating in the reflection mode and providing a robust mechanical support to the microresonator, the integrated structure has been experimentally proven as a convenient probe for sensing applications. Microspheres made of different materials (e.g., PMMA, porous glass, hollow core porous, and glass solid borosilicate glass) were successfully demonstrated for different sensing purposes, including temperature, chemical vapor concentration, and glucose concentration in aqueous solutions. In addition, the alignment free, integrated microresonator structure may also find other applications such as optical filters and microcavity lasers.