Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Christopher T Middlebrook


Optical waveguides have shown promising results for use within printed circuit boards. These optical waveguides have higher bandwidth than traditional copper transmission systems and are immune to electromagnetic interference. Design parameters for these optical waveguides are needed to ensure an optimal link budget. Modeling and simulation methods are used to determine the optimal design parameters needed in designing the waveguides. As a result, optical structures necessary for incorporating optical waveguides into printed circuit boards are designed and optimized.

Embedded siloxane polymer waveguides are investigated for their use in optical printed circuit boards. This material was chosen because it has low absorption, high temperature stability, and can be deposited using common processing techniques. Two sizes of waveguides are investigated, 50 $unit{mu m}$ multimode and 4 - 9 $unit{mu m}$ single mode waveguides.

A beam propagation method is developed for simulating the multimode and single mode waveguide parameters. The attenuation of simulated multimode waveguides are able to match the attenuation of fabricated waveguides with a root mean square error of 0.192 dB. Using the same process as the multimode waveguides, parameters needed to ensure a low link loss are found for single mode waveguides including maximum size, minimum cladding thickness, minimum waveguide separation, and minimum bend radius.

To couple light out-of-plane to a transmitter or receiver, a structure such as a vertical interconnect assembly (VIA) is required. For multimode waveguides the optimal placement of a total internal reflection mirror can be found without prior knowledge of the waveguide length. The optimal placement is found to be either 60 µm or 150 µm away from the end of the waveguide depending on which metric a designer wants to optimize the average output power, the output power variance, or the maximum possible power loss.

For single mode waveguides a volume grating coupler is designed to couple light from a silicon waveguide to a polymer single mode waveguide. A focusing grating coupler is compared to a perpendicular grating coupler that is focused by a micro-molded lens. The focusing grating coupler had an optical loss of over -14 dB, while the grating coupler with a lens had an optical loss of -6.26 dB.