High sensitivity (S) and high quality factor (Q) are desirable to achieve low detection limit in label-free optical sensors. In this paper, we theoretically demonstrate that single-layer and coupled bi-layer photonic crystal slabs (PCS) possess simultaneously high S and high Q near the bound states in the continuum (BIC). We theoretically achieved S > 800 nm/RIU and Q > 107 in refractive index sensing in the 1400–1600 nm telecom optical wavelength bands. We experimentally demonstrated an S of 94 nm/RIU and a Q of 1.2 x 104, with a detection limit of 6 X10 -5 refractive index unit. These sensor designs can find applications in biochemical sensing, environmental
monitoring, and healthcare.