A technique for increasing the excitation and collection of evanescent fluorescence radiation emanating from a fiber optic sensor having a high refractive index (n.sub.r), dielectric thin film coating has been disclosed and described. The invention comprises a clad optical fiber core whose cladding is removed on a distal end, the distal end coated with a thin, non-porous, titanium dioxide sol-gel coating. It has been shown that such a fiber will exhibit increased fluorescence coupling due in part by 1) increasing the intensity of the evanescent field at the fiber core surface by a constructive interference effect on the propagating light, and 2) increasing the depth of penetration of the field in the sample. The interference effect created by the thin film imposes a wavelength dependence on the collection of the fluorescence and also suggests a novel application of thin films for color filtering as well as increasing collected fluorescence in fiber sensors. Collected fluorescence radiation increased by up to 6-fold over that of a bare fused silica fiber having a numerical aperture (N.A.) of O.6.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.