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We developed chip-scale remote refractive index sensors based on Rhodamine 6G (R6G)-doped polymer micro-ring lasers. The chemical, temperature, and mechanical sturdiness of the fused-silica host guaranteed a flexible deployment of dye-doped polymers for refractive index sensing. The introduction of the dye as gain medium demonstrated the feasibility of remote sensing based on the free-space optics measurement setup. Compared to the R6G-doped TZ-001, the lasing behavior of R6G-doped SU-8 polymer micro-ring laser under an aqueous environment had a narrower spectrum linewidth, producing the minimum detectable refractive index change of 4 x 10−4 RIU. The maximum bulk refractive index sensitivity (BRIS) of 75 nm/RIU was obtained for SU-8 laser-based refractive index sensors. The economical, rapid, and simple realization of polymeric micro-scale whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) laser-based refractive index sensors will further expand pathways of static and dynamic remote environmental, chemical, biological, and bio-chemical sensing. Abstract © OSA.


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Authorship notes: The three principal authors are listed in the author field. Additional contributions to the work: Zhaohui Li, Cong Chen, Sangha Cho, Hui Zhang, Ting Mei, Huiping Tian, Yuji Oki, Naoya Nishimura, Xudong Fan, and L. Jay Guo.

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Optics Express