Master Bond UV15 has been selected for use in the fabrication of polymer optical waveguides for a variety of applications. In a research project conducted at RMIT University, UV15 was used for both the upper and lower cladding layers in an optical polymer slab waveguide.1 UV15 formed the lower cladding layer in a waveguide designed for use as an optical modulator in a study at the University of Texas at Austin.2 Researchers at the University of Twente (Netherlands) fabricated multimode polymeric waveguides using UV15 as the core layer.3
The waveguides in each of these three studies were fabricated using spin coating to deposit the cladding and core layers, photolithography to pattern the waveguide, and reactive ion etching (RIE) to transfer the waveguide pattern to the core layer. In each study, a different combination of materials (i.e., UV15 and one or two other polymeric materials) was selected for the core and two cladding layers and the fabrication process was adapted to meet specific design and performance goals.
Meeting Waveguide Design Criteria
UV15 is well suited for many polymer optical waveguide designs. It has a refractive index of 1.48 at a wavelength of 633 nm and adheres well to silicon, which is often used as a substrate for waveguide fabrication. One-component UV15 is easily spin-coated to create smooth, uniform films with thicknesses used in waveguides (roughly 5 to 100 μm). Because UV15 can withstand exposure to solvents used in photolithography, it can be patterned and etched to form ribbed waveguide channels.
Master Bond UV15 has been successfully used in the fabrication of low-loss electro-optical polymer waveguides. Through careful control of the spin-coating, curing, photolithography, and etching processes, the properties of UV15 and other materials used in waveguide design can be optimized to achieve specific design goals. The resulting polymer waveguides are relatively inexpensive to fabricate and can be used to realize a variety of electro-optical devices.
1 Simon, Darren. Chemistry and Morphology of Polymer Thin Films for Electro-Optical Application. Dissertation, RMIT University, 2006.
2 Zhou, Qingjun. Electro-Optic Modulators Based on Polymeric Y-Fed Directional Couplers. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004.
3 Musa, S., et al. “Fabrication of Polymeric Multimode Waveguides for Application in the Local Area Network and Optical Interconnects.” Proceedings Symposium IEEE/LEOS Benelux Chapter, 2000, pp. 95-98.