25 November 2002 Polymer waveguides for 100-cm (40") optical backplanes
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Abstract
Optical backplanes are attractive components for systems with high data rates between subsystems and a large number of interconnects. An optical backplane which uses multimode polymer waveguides was originally developed for avionic applications but can be used in telecom switching systems as well. For transmission distances in the range of 100cm and data rates up to 10Gbps, the modal dispersion can be negelected. The waveguides are fabricated on large substrates (aluminum, FR4 and others) by a direct writing technique. Splitters and couplers can be fabricated with the same technique. The waveguides have a low loss (0.04dB/cm) and high temperature stability (up to 250°C) and are used with 840nm vertical cavity lasers. The waveguide cross section can be chosen between approx. 250μm x 250μm and 50μm x 50μm. We have successfully transmitted up to 10Gbit/s over multimode polymer waveguides with lengths of 100cm. A free space, expanded beam coupling is used for the board-backplane transition, resulting in high alignment tolerances. The overall insertion loss for a backplane connection is typically between 2 and 8 dB, depending on waveguide length, radius of curvature, number of waveguide crossings etc. A typical transceiver power budget of 15-20dB allows the integration of star couplers with up to 16 ports. Several test systems with different interconnection schemes have been realized and tested. Tests include mechanical stability (vibration), thermal stability (cycles, shocks and accelerated aging) and gamma irradiation as well as optical power levels, signal integrity and bit error rates.
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Jorg Moisel, Joachim Guttmann, Hans-Peter Huber, Barbara Lunitz, Manfred Rode, Reinhold Schoedlbauer, Richard Bogenberger, "Polymer waveguides for 100-cm (40") optical backplanes", Proc. SPIE 4805, Design and Fabrication of Planar Optical Waveguide Devices and Materials, (25 November 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.450901; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.450901
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