Tapered optical fiber platform for biosensing applications

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Biology


Department of Biology


Advisor: Karolyn Hansen


This study focuses on the design, fabrication, and characterization of tapered optical fibers for label-free, biomolecular sensing in both aqueous and gaseous environments. Single-mode fibers were tapered to a diameter of approximately 10 microns allowing for the propagation of multiple modes and creating an interference pattern in the output signal. Tapered regions serve as the sensing interface, such that the light propagating through/around the fiber interacts with molecules tethered to the tapered surface. Tapered regions are functionalized with biomolecules for capture and detection of analytes in both aqueous (antibody) and vapor phases (DNA, peptides). Molecular binding of analytes with recognition molecules changes the refractive index and the thickness of the biolayer on the fiber surface, which can be measured as a phase shift in the output spectrum. The sensing platform (fiber and Teflon flow cell) allows for fast and economical fabrication. The tapered optical fibers can be fabricated in array format for detection of multiple analytes in complex samples for biomedical (blood, saliva, breath), environmental, and homeland security applications.


Nanofibers Design and construction, Optical fiber detectors Design and construction, Biosensors Design and construction, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Optics, biosensor, biosensing, tapered optical fiber

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2014, author