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Fabrication of a Graded-Index Circular-Core Polymer Parallel Optical Waveguide Using a Microdispenser for a High-Density Optical Printed Circuit Board

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2 Author(s)
Soma, K. ; Grad. Sch. of Sci. & Technol., Keio Univ., Yokohama, Japan ; Ishigure, T.

A simple fabrication method for multimode polymer optical waveguides with graded-index (GI) circular cores is introduced for use in optical printed circuit boards (O-PCBs). The new method, named “Mosquito method,” utilizes a microdispenser to dispense a viscous monomer directly onto the substrates. By optimizing the dispensing conditions, 12-channel parallel waveguides with circular GI-cores (core diameter of 40 μm) are successfully fabricated using the Mosquito method. The advantages of GI-core waveguides for O-PCB applications are discussed by comparing the optical characteristics of the fabricated waveguides with those of conventional step-index (SI) square-core polymer waveguides, and even with those of silica-based GI multimode fibers (MMFs), as an ideal case. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comparison of SI- and GI-core multimode polymer waveguides that are composed of the same polymer materials and that have similar core and pitch sizes. We experimentally demonstrate that the GI circular-core polymer waveguides fabricated by the Mosquito method have sufficiently low propagation loss (0.033 dB/cm at 850 nm), low connection loss with GI-MMFs, and low interchannel crosstalk. We observe approximately -50 dB of interchannel crosstalk in the 250-μm pitch GI-core waveguide fabricated, which is almost 10 dB lower than in the SI counterpart. Furthermore, sufficiently low crosstalk is maintained in a half-pitch GI-core waveguide fabricated by the Mosquito method.

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Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 2 )