Polyimides have been experimentally studied for their potential application in
optical interconnection networks. A total of nine commerically availables polyimides were
evaluated in the form of planar slab optical waveguides. Analysis included measurement of
optical properties such as transmission spectra, refractive index and loss. From this
preliminary evaluation, four polyimides emerged as promising for application as channel
optical waveguides. With these materials, multimode channel waveguides were fabricated with
one of three methods, laser writing by thermal curing, laser writing with visible radiation in
photosensitive polyimide and photolithography by contact printing, also in photosensitive
polyimide. All three methods were relatively successful, yielding uniform, straight channels.
Loss measurements suggest that laser writing by thermal curing has the potential to form
waveguides with the lowest loss. However, attenuation in all cases was relatively high, typically
5 - 10 db/cm at 633 nm.