Low-Cost, High-Throughput Roll-to-Roll Printing of Integrated Photonic Devices on Flexible Substrates via a Combination of Nanoimprinting and Ink-Jet
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: In this program, Omega Optics, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the University of Texas at Austin, proposes low-cost, high-throughput roll-to-roll (R2R) printing of integrated photonic devices by using a high-rate R2R ink-jet printing system in conjunction with a high-rate R2R nanoimprint lithography (R2RNIL) system and demonstrate fabrication of photonic devices utilizing sub-wavelength (<100nm) features in an efficient, cost effective and manufacturably viable method on flexible substrates. Such a technology not only eliminates the bottleneck of e-beam lithography in terms of reducing time and cost, but also offers high rate (>1meter/min) continuous processing. The customized R2R high-rate ink-jet print engine will provide precise placement of functional materials, including semiconductor membranes, polymers, organics, bio-inspired materials, nanowires, nanotubes, nanoparticles etc, whereas R2RNIL will provide sub-wavelength (<100nm) patterning of such materials, in order to form a fully functional integrated system. As a proof of concept of this enabling technology, in Phase I, fabrication and operation of key photonic devices such as EO modulators, true-time-delay lines, grating couplers, solar cells etc, using polymers, semiconductor nanomembranes etc on a flexible substrate will be demonstrated. Key manufacturing related issues such as in-line alignment control, quality assurance etc will be addressed. These objectives are targeted at developing unique large area multifunctional integrated photonic system architectures on flexible substrates at high rates that can only be achieved with printing. Gaining useful information from the experimental results in Phase I, a Phase II plan will be developed with a goal to develop an automated R2R printing process to develop large area integrated communication system consisting of light sources, modulator, true-time-delay lines, photodetectors, RF amplifiers, antenna elements, high-efficiency solar cells etc. BENEFIT: Potential application areas of roll-to-roll printing process for optical components on flexible substrates include a) optical waveguide arrays for optical bus architecture, clock distribution, ring resonators; b) photonic crystal based devices for resonators, optical buffers, optical delay lines, add/drop filters, true-time-delay lines for RF antenna feed systems, RF modulators, superprisms; c) grating structures for add/drop filters, delay lines, optical buffers, light coupling structures for optical waveguides; d) patterning doped/stacked multi-material nanomembranes to form photodetector arrays, image detectors, solar cells; e) plasmonic structures for high efficiency flexible solar cells, f) light sources such as LEDs etc. Other areas where such a technology is expected to have a huge impact over the next ten years include healthcare, transportation industry, security, agriculture and education, military and consumer goods. Our proposed work can realize continuous manufacturing of novel flexible photonic components and systems, thus furthering the domain of potential useful applications and increasing revenue.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Omega Optics, Inc.
8500 Shoal Creek Blvd, Bldg4, Suite 200 Austin, TX 78757
Number of Employees:
UT Austin and U. Michigan-Ann Arbor
10100 Burnet Rd, PRC/MER 160,
Austin, TX 78758-8758
Ray T. Chen and L. Jay Guo