Polymer optical waveguides are used where there is a need to precisely control and direct light within a plane. Historically, optical waveguides have been used for optical splitters and combiners, wavelength division multiplexers and high-speed optical signal distribution between ICs on the same circuit board or in optical backplanes, between rack-mounted boards. More recently however, they are finding increased use in applications such as lighting, displays, touch screens and optical imaging.
Epigem’s polymer waveguides are made to order using a patented UV embossing process. Both single and multimode devices can be made. The process uses cross-linked acrylate polymer resin materials that have high transparency and good thermal and mechanical stability compared to alternative thermoplastic polymers. The materials have refractive indices in the range 1.41 to 1.56. The index difference in the guides can be from 0.001 to 0.1.
The waveguides can be made onto sheets or reels of plastic film or onto rigid substrates such as glass or silicon.
Light coupling into the waveguide can be either by end fire through a cut and polished or laser cut edge or by grating coupling where appropriate. Lowest loss performance is achieved in the wavelength range from 400 nm to 900 nm..