Silicon Nitride Photonic Particle Detector-Experiments and Model Assessment

Anton Buchberger*, Paul Maierhofer, Felix Stollberger, Anderson Singulani, Martin Sagmeister, Omar Basso, Victor Sidorov, Jochen Kraft, Marcus Baumgart, Andreas Tortschanoff, Alexander Bergmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensors based on the interaction between analytes and the evanescent field of a silicon nitride waveguide are emerging in the field of bio-medical and environmental applications. We designed and implemented the first single particle detector based on this sensor principle that consists of a silicon nitride waveguide with sub-micron dimensions. The detection capabilities of the prototype were demonstrated with polystyrene latex (PSL) spheres equal to or greater than O200 nm. Single PSL spheres caused a decrease of the transmission through the waveguide from 0.2 up to 10%, depending on their diameter and position with respect to the waveguide. The experiments were supported by 3D finite element method (FEM) simulations of the particle-waveguide interaction. The simulated relative scattered power of a single sphere is in agreement with experimental results obtained from two different setups. The silicon nitride photonic chip was fabricated with a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) process, which is compatible with established complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processes for high-volume production. The demonstrator setup was realized with an external laser and photodetector, but with recent advances in light source and detector integration, our work leverages the realization of a fully integrated, low-cost photonic particle detector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9448233
Pages (from-to)18829-18836
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Environmental monitors
  • particle measurements
  • position sensitive particle detectors
  • silicon nitride
  • silicon photonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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