Scalable electro-photonic integration concept based on polymer waveguides
A novel method for fabricating a single mode optical interconnection platform is presented. The method comprises the miniaturized assembly of optoelectronic single dies, the scalable fabrication of polymer single mode waveguides and the coupling to glass fiber arrays providing the I/O's. The low cost approach for the polymer waveguide fabrication is based on the nano-imprinting of a spin-coated waveguide core layer. The assembly of VCSELs and photodiodes is performed before waveguide layers are applied. By embedding these components in deep reactive ion etched pockets in the silicon substrate, the planarity of the substrate for subsequent layer processing is guaranteed and the thermal path of chip-to-substrate is minimized. Optical coupling of the embedded devices to the nano-imprinted waveguides is performed by laser ablating 45 degree trenches which act as optical mirror for 90 degree deviation of the light from VCSEL to waveguide. Laser ablation is also implemented for removing parts of the polymer stack in order to mount a custom fabricated connector containing glass fiber arrays. A demonstration device was built to show the proof of principle of the novel fabrication, packaging and optical coupling principles as described above, combined with a set of sub-demonstrators showing the functionality of the different techniques separately. The paper represents a significant part of the electro-photonic integration accomplishments in the European 7th Framework project "Firefly" and not only discusses the development of the different assembly processes described above, but the efforts on the complete integration of all process approaches into the single device demonstrator.