Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Ivan Avrutsky


For the fabrication, focused ion beam parameters are investigated to successfully fabricate dense periodical patterns, such as gratings, on hard transition metal nitride such as zirconium nitride. Transition metal nitrides such as titanium nitride and zirconium nitride have recently been studied as alternative materials for plasmonic devices because of its plasmonic resonance in the visible and near-infrared ranges, material strength, CMOS compatibility and optical properties resembling gold. Coupling of light on the surface of these materials using sub-micrometer gratings gives additional capabilities for wider applications. Here we report the fabrication of gratings on the surface of zirconium nitride using gallium ion 30keV dual beam focused ion beam. Scanning electron microscope imaging and atomic force microscope profiling is used to characterize the fabricated gratings. Appropriate values for FIB parameters such as ion beam current, magnification, dwell time and milling rate are found for successful milling of dense patterns on zirconium nitride.

For the device performance, a real-time image-processing algorithm is developed to enhance the sensitivity of an optical miniature spectrometer. The novel approach in this design is the use of real-time image-processing algorithm to average the image intensity along the arc shaped images registered by the monochromatic inputs on the CMOS image sensor. This approach helps to collect light from the entire arc and thus enhances the sensitivity of the device. The algorithm is developed using SiTiO2 planar waveguide. The accuracy of the mapping from x-pixel number scale of the CMOS image sensor to the wavelength spectra of the miniature spectrometer is demonstrated by measuring the spectrum of a known LED source using a conventional desktop spectrometer and comparing it with the spectrum measured by the miniature spectrometer. The sensitivity of miniature spectrometer is demonstrated using two methods. In the first method, the input laser power is attenuated to 0.1 nW and the spectra is measured using the miniature spectrometer. Even at low input power of 0.1nW, the spectrum of monochromatic inputs is observed well above the noise level. Second method is by quantitative analysis, which measures the absorption of CdSeS/ZnS quantum dots drop casted between the gratings of Ta2O5 planar single-mode waveguide. The expected guided mode attenuation introduced by monolayer of quantum dots is found to be approximately 11 times above the highest noise level from the absorption measurements. Thus, the miniature spectrometer is capable of detecting the signal from the noise level even with the absorption introduced by monolayer of quantum dots.