Fabrication of planar optical waveguides by electrical microcontact printing

Author

Daniel B. Wolfe, J. Christopher Love, Byron D. Gates, and George M. Whitesides

Journal

Applied Physics Letters

Publication Date

12/31/2004

Abstract

This letter describes the fabrication by electrical microcontact printing ~E-mCP! of planar, optical waveguides, and splitters made of poly~4-vinylphenol! doped with phloxine B. This soft-lithographic technique uses a poly~dimethylsiloxane! ~PDMS! stamp coated with a thin gold film to pattern the flow of current through the film of doped polymer. The current bleaches the phloxine B, and thus creates regions of high ~unbleached; waveguide core! and low ~bleached; waveguide cladding! refractive index. The maximum exposure time to obtain Dn50.025 was 90 s. This system is useful for guiding light having l5600– 1310 nm. These polymer waveguides preserve polarization, and are able to guide light around 90° corners with a minimum radius of curvature of 1.6 mm. E-mCP patterned a 134 optical power splitter in 10 s. This technique is potentially useful for rapid prototyping of planar and multilevel optical devices.

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