Planar ion exchange and laser ablation for prototyping of integrated optics in glass
A new process for prototype manufacturing of integrated optical components was investigated. Sodium ions near the surface of a glass wafer are exchanged with silver ions, which creates a layer of increased refractive index. Subsequently, parts of the glass surface are ablated using a femtosecond laser. The resulting ridges determine the final optical waveguide structure. However, manufacturing-related roughness leads to high optical losses. To reduce these losses and to optimize the index profile, a second ion exchange with sodium ions is performed. These ions are introduced into the glass from all three ridge surfaces, causing the silver ions to migrate towards the ridge center. This results in a gradient index waveguide. We created a numerical model, to simulate the ion exchanges. Experiments were conducted, to determine the parameters for the ion exchange and the laser ablation. Based on the results, a process window was defined for each step, thus enabling the manufacturing of integrated optical components.
Technische Hochschule Deggendorf (Germany)
Daniel Schaeffer is a PhD student, an engineer and a little bit of everything else as well. His most important professional stations were Bosch, the Institute for Sensor and Actuator Technology and Fraunhofer. These days, he is involved in shaping the newly founded TC Teisnach Sensor Technology in southern Germany. His focus is on the topic of integrated optics in glass. Daniel has received a Gold Medal for his outstanding performance in both, the Master's program in Simulation and Testing as well as in the Bachelor's program in Engineering Physics. In addition, he has also won a Best Presentation Award and several hackathons.