Refractive index sensing plays a key role in various environmental and biological sensing applications. Here, a method is presented for measuring the absolute refractive index dispersion of liquids using an array of photonic crystal resonant reflectors of varying periods. It is shown that by covering the array with a sample liquid and measuring the resonance wavelength associated with transverse electric polarized quasi guided modes as a function of period, the refractive index dispersion of the liquid can be accurately obtained using an analytical expression. This method is compact, can perform measurements at arbitrary number of wavelengths, and requires only a minute sample volume. The ability to sense a material's dispersion profile offers an added dimension of information that may be of benefit to optofluidic lab-on-a-chip applications.

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