Water-walled microfluidics for high-optical finesse cavities

Shai Maayani, Leopoldo L. Martin, Tal Carmon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In submerged microcavities there is a tradeoff between resonant enhancement for spatial water and light overlap. Why not transform the continuously resonating optical mode to be fully contained in a water microdroplet per se? Here we demonstrate a sustainable 30-μm-pure water device, bounded almost completely by free surfaces, enabling >1,000,000 re-circulations of light. The droplets survive for >16 h using a technique that is based on a nano-water bridge from the droplet to a distant reservoir to compensate for evaporation. More than enabling a nearly-perfect optical overlap with water, atomic-level surface smoothness that minimizes scattering loss, and ∼99% coupling efficiency from a standard fibre. Surface tension in our droplet is 8,000 times stronger than gravity, suggesting a new class of devices with water-made walls, for new fields of study including opto-capillaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10435
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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