Comparison of self-written waveguide techniques and bulk index matching for low-loss polymer waveguide interconnects

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Conference Proceeding

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© 2016 SPIE. Polymer waveguides (PWGs) are used within photonic interconnects as inexpensive and versatile substitutes for traditional optical fibers. The PWGs are typically aligned to silica-based optical fibers for coupling. An epoxide elastomer is then applied and cured at the interface for index matching and rigid attachment. Self-written waveguides (SWWs) are proposed as an alternative to further reduce connection insertion loss (IL) and alleviate marginal misalignment issues. Elastomer material is deposited after the initial alignment, and SWWs are formed by injecting ultraviolet (UV) light into the fiber or waveguide. The coupled UV light cures a channel between the two differing structures. A suitable cladding layer can be applied after development. Such factors as longitudinal gap distance, UV cure time, input power level, polymer material selection and choice of solvent affect the resulting SWWs. Experimental data are compared between purely index-matched samples and those with SWWs at the fiber-PWG interface. It is shown that < 1 dB IL per connection can be achieved by either method and results indicate lowest potential losses associated with a fine-tuned self-writing process. Successfully fabricated SWWs reduce overall processing time and enable an effectively continuous low-loss rigid interconnect.

Publication Title

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering