Laser-direct writing of single mode and multi-mode polymer step index waveguide structures for optical backplanes and interconnection assemblies

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© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. A laser direct writing (LDW) method is implemented as a cost efficient polymer waveguide (WG) fabrication method for prototyping large substrates for optical backplanes and optical interconnection assemblies. The LDW setup utilizes a 3-axis air-bearing motion platform to reduce WG fabrication error to within ±0.15 μm. A UV laser diode coupled single mode fiber with a focusing lens module is capable of LDW WGs at both multimode (50 μm) and single mode (6 μm) dimensions. Correlation between LDW parameters and fabricated WG dimensions using Dow Corning® OE-4140 UV-Cured Optical Elastomer (ncore = 1.5142, nclad = 1.5064) is discussed theoretically and confirmed experimentally for both applications. A theoretical model is developed and utilized for producing LDW multi-mode (0.04 dB/cm, λ = 850 nm) and single mode (0.55 dB/cm, λ = 1310 nm) WGs. Measured propagation losses of LDW WGs are comparable to losses of photolithographic multi-mode (0.04 dB/cm @ 850 nm) and single mode (0.59 dB/cm @ 1310 nm) WG builds. LDW multi-mode and single mode WG radial bend and crossing losses are evaluated for advanced optical communication channel routing capabilities and do not exhibit significant deviations from photolithographic-manufactured WG device loss.

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Photonics and Nanostructures - Fundamentals and Applications