Multimode interference (MMI) devices operating at high data rates are important for integrated optics and optical networks. Their 1×<i>N</i> splitting provides a basic functionality in these applications. Ultra-high speed data transmission at 40Gb/s per channel with a total bandwidth of 320Gb/s for all 8 output ports is demonstrated for the first time on a 1 × 8 photo-definable polymer-based MMI power splitter. The transmission integrity is confirmed by the bit-error-rate (BER) testing. To further determine the speed limitations of MMI devices, ultra-short pulse response of these devices is quantified. For example, for 20<i>f</i>s Gaussian input pulses into a 1×8 polymer-based MMI splitter, the output pulses are severely degraded in coupling efficiency (47%) and completely broken up in time and in space primarily due to inter-modal and intra-modal (waveguide) dispersions.
Recent progress toward implementing high-density, optical-digital building blocks necessary to accomplish efficient, end-to-end optical interconnect architecture on low cost FR-4 boards has been demonstrated. The optical interconnect system consists of fabricating an optical buffer layer separating board metallurgy from the optical lightwave circuit layer, and implementing optical links between embedded lasers and detectors. We will show an example of 1310 nm light from an edge emitting distributed-feedback or Fabry-Perot laser operating at 10 Gb/s being guided to the photo-detector by a polymer waveguide. Both lasers and detector are embedded in the waveguide and all construction is built on a low-cost FR-4 board with 3 levels of metallurgy.