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When the optical interconnects are introduced to the printed circuit board level, new challenges related to materials, design, simulations and industrial manufacturing are presented. The materials have developed to enable high transfer speeds over required distances, but the printed wiring board design process cannot accommodate optical elements as such. The scope of this paper is to discuss the issues of volume production of on-board waveguides - the optical waveguide board manufacturing is viewed from the perspective of a conventional circuit board processes to evaluate and test the capability and the required modifications to the standard processes. The results show the potential of slightly modified printed wiring board processes in the manufacturing of optical waveguide boards. Good quality waveguides were manufactured inside industrial PWB process and the challenges of coupling element production were also discussed. This work introduces optical components to conventional PWB manufacturing and will transfer the waveguide manufacturing a step from laboratory scale towards volume production.
Date of Conference: 31 May-3 June 2005