Optical planar waveguide-mode sensor is a promising candidate for highly sensitive biosensing techniques in fields such as protein adsorption, receptor-ligand interaction and surface bacteria adhesion. To make the waveguide-mode sensor system more realistic, a spectral readout type waveguide sensor is proposed to take advantage of its high speed, compactness and low cost. Based on our previously proposed monolithic waveguide-mode sensor composed of a SiO2 waveguide layer and a single crystalline Si layer , the mechanism for achieving high sensitivity is revealed by numerical simulations. The optimal achievable sensitivities for a series of waveguide structures are summarized in a contour map, and they are found to be better than those of previously reported angle-scan type waveguide sensors.
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