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17 April 1998 Passive fiber alignment to single-mode plastic waveguides fabricated by injection molding
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Passive fibre-waveguide coupling is a promising alternative to expensive active coupling in single-mode fibre-optics. The idea to utilize replication techniques in transparent polymeric materials for waveguide and alignment structure fabrication has led to the SIGA-process (Silizium, Galvanik und Abformung) which allows a cost effective production of low loss polymer waveguides in the near IR. Major difficulties in passive fibre coupling are caused by the high lateral alignment accuracy (of about 1 micrometer) in fibre positioning. In the SIGA process, the exact position of the V- grooves relative to the waveguide trenches is defined by the etch mask for the silicon master wafer. The width of the V- grooves is determined by the KOH etching time. It is controlled precisely at various stages in the etching process by means of a microscope based piezo driven measurement system with a resolution better than 0.5 micrometer, thus allowing a final vertical precision of fibre positioning of 350 nm. In order to specify the capability of our technology we have measured the position of dozens of fibres glued into V- grooves. The result was that an amount of 55% of the fibre cores was closer than 1.5 micrometer to the waveguide centre. As the experience has shown, a two-step process for the fabrication of passively fibre coupled waveguides is necessary. First, the waveguides are produced by filling the waveguide trenches with an IR-transparent monomer and by polymerizing it using UV curing. The waveguides are inspected with visible and IR light by clamping a fibre ribbon mechanically into the integrated plastic V-grooves. In a second step the fibre ribbon is fixed irreversibly in the V- grooves. By that way we have reached an insertion loss of 3.5 dB at 1300nm and 1550nm for passively coupled 22mm single mode waveguides. Most of the losses are attributed to waveguide imperfections. More details concerning the coupling losses and the device performances will be reported at the conference.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Guido Pompe, Stefan Lehmacher, Stefan Rudolph, Stefan Kalveram, Matthias Joenck, and Andreas Neyer "Passive fiber alignment to single-mode plastic waveguides fabricated by injection molding", Proc. SPIE 3281, Polymer Photonic Devices, (17 April 1998);

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