29 November 2000 High-performance polymeric materials for waveguide applications
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The ever-increasing need for economical, reliable, and high- performance optical interconnects for telecommunication and data communication markets demands new innovative solutions. Polymer technology being developed at BFGoodrich is focused on satisfying this demand. It is based on proprietary polynorbornene polymers that exhibit excellent optical, thermal and mechanical properties essential for fabrication of reliable components for integrated optics. Typical polymer waveguide systems exhibit a tradeoff between thermal and optical performance. The uniqueness of the polynorbornene system is that these tradeoffs are minimized. The intrinsic properties of the polynorbornene system include low transmission loss (<0.1 dB/cm at 820 nm), wide spectral range (<0.4 dB/cm at 450 nm and <0.1 dB/cm at 515-870nm), low birefringence ((Delta) n(in plane)<10-5, (Delta) n(out of plane) <10-3 at 820 nm, consistent difference in index over a wide temperature range, long-term thermal stability (>2000 hours at 125 degree(s)C), high glass transition temperature (>280 degree(s)C), and low moisture absorption (<0.1%). The combination of these characteristics offers advantages over existing plastic materials for visible and near IR applications such as those used in the datacom market. Candidate materials have been identified as core and cladding components for optical waveguides. The refractive index of a typical core material is 1.53, and of a typical clad material, 1.50 at 820 nm. The difference in index between core and cladding is approximately 0.03 over a broad range of wavelength (515-870nm). Preliminary results indicate that the difference in index between core and cladding tracks with temperature, which is in line with out expectation since these polymers have similar structures at the molecular level. Fabrication of functional waveguides has been demonstrated using a conventional cast and cure process at the lab scale. Optical performance of the constituent materials and the waveguide devices will be discussed in the paper.
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Konstantin Glukh, Konstantin Glukh, John-Henry Lipian, John-Henry Lipian, Richard Mimna, Richard Mimna, Phillip S. Neal, Phillip S. Neal, R. Ravikiran, R. Ravikiran, Larry F. Rhodes, Larry F. Rhodes, Robert A. Shick, Robert A. Shick, Xiao-Mei Zhao, Xiao-Mei Zhao, "High-performance polymeric materials for waveguide applications", Proc. SPIE 4106, Linear, Nonlinear, and Power-Limiting Organics, (29 November 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.408534; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.408534

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