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Proceedings Paper

Optical applications of silicon micromachining technology
Author(s): Gary R. Trott; Long Yang; Kent W. Carey; Richard P. Ratowsky; Jeffrey S. Kallman
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Paper Abstract

To implement optical submodules or systems of the future we have identified a few key components and technologies necessary to build optical products at Hewlett Packard. To be competitive these optical assemblies must be smaller, cheaper and more functional, then current optical products while maintaining or exceeding the existing performance level. To accomplish this task we introduce the idea of a silicon micro- optical bench (SMOB). The focus of the micro-optical bench has been laser submounts and collimators. However, while making advances in these platform technologies, the importance of micro parts which can be used to augment and expand the optical functions has become apparent. In this paper the role of silicon as a micro-optical bench substrate is described along with implementations of micro-optical benches. Silicon is an excellent choice as a base platform for SMOB technology because of its availability and excellent material properties and advanced processing technology. Structures to aid in batch assembly processes are easily constructed from silicon wafers. We show how to create structures which allow placement of ball lenses and other three dimensional structures to 1 micrometer accuracy. This can be accomplished in a batch process with the potential for reductions in cost of assembly. We have built generic laser submounts and collimators with various sizes of ball lenses. We show how the performance of these submounts agrees with the theoretical predictions. For fiber to ball coupling Gaussian methods work well. However, for laser to fiber coupling via ball lenses it is necessary to use a Maxwell equation solver in spherical coordinates to correctly predict the spherical aberration effects. The ball lenses can collect the laser light with great efficiency at a fraction of the cost for convectional GRIN or aspheric lenses. Furthermore, the small size allows the whole optical part to fit within standard hermetic packages.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 1997
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3223, Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology III, (5 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.284472
Show Author Affiliations
Gary R. Trott, Hewlett-Packard Co. (United States)
Long Yang, Hewlett-Packard Co. (United States)
Kent W. Carey, Hewlett-Packard Co. (United States)
Richard P. Ratowsky, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Jeffrey S. Kallman, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3223:
Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology III
Shih-Chia Chang; Stella W. Pang, Editor(s)

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