Nanofibers are considered to be optical fibers that have diameters lose to or below the wavelength of the guided light. Herewith, such tiny optical fibers provide engineerable waveguiding features, containing optical confinement, fractional evanescent fields, and surface intensity that play a crucial role in fiber optic sensing on the nanoscale level.
Nowadays fiber optic systems are regarded as one of the most successful and powerful applications in fiber optics as well as in sensing technology. Nevertheless, the fast progress in nanotechnology and biology leads to high demand for an optical fiber for sensing with higher performances and versatilities, size miniaturization.
The thing is that fiber optic systems of compact size offer more rapid response, a higher level of sensitivity, low power consumption, and better spatial resolution, therefore, nanoscale optical fibers with diameters close to or below the vacuum wavelength of visible or near-infrared light are perfect for this purpose.
New nanoscale optical fibers combine fiber optics and nanotechnology, they are a novel platform for researching fiber optic technology on the nanoscale level. It should be noted that produced by using the taper-drawing technique, a fiber optic system demonstrates uniform diameter, smooth sidewall, and outstanding mechanical flexibilities.
The operating principle of nanoscale fiber optic technology is based on high-index contrast between the material and the surroundings, so “optical fibers guide light with low optical loss, tight optical confinement, and large fractional evanescent fields, making it a novel miniaturized platform for optical sensing with special benefits containing faster response, higher sensitivity, higher spatial resolution, and lower-power operation.”
Today sensing technique based on fiber optics is a highly used area and it demonstrates great potential for physical, chemical, and biological sensing on the nanoscale. Nonetheless, the nanoscale fiber optic technology still requires future developments because only a few optical fibers for sensing have been moved from the laboratory to practical applications.
Thus, it is necessary to overcome several challenges, for instance, problems in production, functionalization, and package of nanoscale optical fiber structures resulting in higher reliability and reproducibility. To be more precise, the fiber optic technology needs for improving manufacturing system to produce optical fibers with designed parameters, high accuracy, and better reproducibility; developing highly repeatable schemes and systems to functionalize fiber optics with required geometries and materials; and packaging nanoscale optical fibers and tools with high robustness and reproducibility.
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