Optics letters

Collection efficiency of scattered light in single-ended optical fiber sensors.

PMID 22660148


Optical fibers allow a variety of spectroscopic sensing methods to be implemented in a single-ended backscattering geometry. Taking multimode fibers with surface-enhanced Raman scattering active tips as a model system, it is shown that the remote single-ended collection geometry can be relatively inefficient in comparison to the performance of the underlying sensor structure. Therefore the performance of the single-ended geometry has been compared to the analogous sensor structure on a nonguiding silica glass substrate. While part of the reduction in collection efficiency can be attributed to mismatches between the numerical aperture of the collection optics and that of the fiber, this study suggests that there can be an additional loss due to a mismatch between the confocal area of the collection optics and the area of the fiber core. This effect is most significant for high numerical aperture objectives. However, the collection efficiency is somewhat higher than would be expected from a simple area ratio analysis. This can be attributed to the graded-index fiber used in the model system and the relaxation of confocal requirements in the longitudinal direction.