The evolution of optical networks calls for denser channel grids and increased number of channels. Additionally, there is a system architecture benefit to eliminate the banks of DFB lasers that act as light sources for individual channels, and use instead a single multi-wavelength source. We have demonstrated a compact multi-wavelength optical source (MWS) for 12.5 GHz DWDM. At least 16 channels are observed within 3 dB optical power bandwidth with optical spectrum contrast ratio exceeding 28 dB. The source is based on a coupled opto-electronic oscillator (COEO) with an optical whispering gallery mode (WGM) microresonator. Free spectral range of the resonator determines the spacing of the optical channels in the MWS. The spacing can be scaled up or down depending on design requirements. The resonator is robustly packaged and fiber pigtailed. In the RF domain the MWS acts as oscillator with operational frequency of 12.5 GHz.
Optical sensing of biomolecules on microfabricated glass surfaces requires surface coatings that minimize nonspecific binding while preserving the optical properties of the sensor. Microspheres with whispering-gallery (WG) modes can achieve quality factor (Q) levels many orders of magnitude greater than those of other WG-based microsensors: greater than 1010 in air, and greater than 109 in a variety of solvents, including methanol, H2O and phosphate buffered saline (PBS). The presence of dyes that absorb in the wavelength of the WG excitation in the evanescent zone can cause this Q value to drop by almost 3 orders of magnitude. Silanization of the surface with mercapto-terminal silanes is compatible with high Q (>109), but chemical cross-linking of streptavidin reduces the Q to 105-106 due to build-up of a thick, irregular layer of protein. However, linkage of biotin to the silane terminus preserves the Q at a ~2x107 and yields a reactive surface sensitive to avidin-containing ligands in a concentration-dependent manner. Improvements in the reliability of the surface chemistry show promise for construction of an ultrasensitive biosensor.