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Proceedings Paper

Polymer waveguide technology: optical connectivity for small form factor applications
Author(s): Todd Lizotte
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Paper Abstract

Planar polymer waveguides provide opportunities for small form factor distribution of laser light for communication, energy transfer and triggering devices used in the field of optically initiated arming, safing, fusing and firing. The two primary methods or classes of polymer waveguide technology use photolithographic processes both mask and maskless techniques. A waveguide is a device that controls the propagation of an electromagnetic wave so that the wave is forced to follow a path defined by the physical structure of the guide. Fabrication takes the form of both a ridge technology (ridge or trench formed by an embossing or etching method) and the second fabrication technique and the subject of this paper is termed Diffusion Technology [1]. This method includes the formation of a high refractive index waveguide by monomer diffusion into the light-exposed guide forming region with no mechanical or chemical etching contact. An essential process feature here is the photomask-defined light exposure of a mobile monomer waveguide forming region in a polymer matrix that converts the monomer to a polymer. The process of continued monomer diffusion into the surrounding guide imaged region increases the density. The addition of other laminated monomer/polymer diffusing layers with the typical three-plus layer configuration is completely photopolymerized after diffusion is complete. The essential steps include a light induced imaging reaction, a total polymerization light fixing for the entire film, and final cure, all using pre-coated dry materials without waveguide side wall contact. Light and molecular diffusion determine the guide walls [1]. This paper will provide testing results and information on the state of polymer waveguides, the methods of fabrication and the general conditions that these waveguides can operate under. The use of polymer waveguides for connectivity has sufficiently advanced, is practical and available for consideration in near term application development with the field of arming, safing, fusing and firing or laser/optically initiated ordnance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 September 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7795, Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing VI, 77950F (3 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.862442
Show Author Affiliations
Todd Lizotte, Hitachi Via Mechanics USA, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7795:
Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing VI
Fred M. Dickey; Richard A. Beyer, Editor(s)

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