Terahertz particle-in-liquid sensing with spoof surface plasmon polariton waveguides

Zhijie Ma, Stephen Hanham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)


We present a highly sensitive microfluidic sensing technique for the terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum based on spoof surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). By integrating a microfluidic channel in a spoof SPP waveguide, we take advantage of these highly confined electromagnetic modes to create a platform for dielectric sensing of liquids. Our design consists of a domino waveguide, that is, a series of periodically arranged rectangular metal blocks on top of a metal surface that supports the propagation of spoof SPPs. Through numerical simulations, we demonstrate that the transmission of spoof SPPs along the waveguide is extremely sensitive to the refractive index of a liquid flowing through a microfluidic channel crossing the waveguide to give an interaction volume on the nanoliter scale. Furthermore, by taking advantage of the insensitivity of the domino waveguide’s fundamental spoof SPP mode to the lateral width of the metal blocks, we design a tapered waveguide able to achieve further confinement of the electromagnetic field. Using this approach, we demonstrate the highly sensitive detection of individual subwavelength micro-particles flowing in the liquid. These results are promising for the creation of spoof SPP based THz lab-on-a-chip microfluidic devices that are suitable for the analysis of biological liquids such as proteins and circulating tumour cells in buffer solution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116102
Number of pages9
JournalAPL Photonics
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Terahertz particle-in-liquid sensing with spoof surface plasmon polariton waveguides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this