Scale up of EO polymers and their utilization in novel nano-imprinted sub-wavelength waveguide-based Modulators and Arrays

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
1430 N. 6th Ave., Tucson, AZ, -
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Li Li
Optical Engineer
(520) 622-0804
Business Contact:
James Fountain
Business Manager
(520) 250-4405
Research Institution:
University of Arizona
Sherry L Esham
Sponsored Projects Services
PO Box 3308
Tucson, AZ, 85722-3308
(520) 626-6000
Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: We present a completely novel design for the polymer waveguide portion of the EO modulators, thereby resolving the fundamentally important low-loss coupling issue. This significantly simplified and elegant design will be fabricated by a nanoimprinting process, making use of electro-optic polymers that have been scaled-up to commercial levels. These polymers will be optimized for the temperatures and pressures experienced during nanoimprinting, using high thermal stability chromophores and novel lattice hardening schemes. A near-term goal of the program is to demonstrate the basic capability to make phase modulator arrays, a key component for Air Force applications in RF photonics, using previously demonstrated hybrid EO polymer/sol-gel modulator designs and materials. These designs take advantage of the high in-device poling efficiency possible when sol-gel claddings are used; 0.6-2.V drive voltages and less than 6dB insertion loss have been previously demonstrated in these devices. The resulting high performance arrays will be pigtailed and evaluated in an RF photonic subsystem whose principal application is in millimeter wave detection. Long-term goals of the program include the further development of the hybrid EO polymer phase and Mach-Zehnder modulator approaches as well as the incorporation of novel EO polymers capable of self-assembly. BENEFIT: Commercial opportunities exist in conventional long-distance OC-768 (40 GBps), emerging 100Gbps Ethernet, and data center applications, where 40Gbps optical interconnection between ultrahigh capacity servers is a burgeoning need. Subsystems such as coherent transmitters, coherent detectors, EO modulator arrays, packet switch matrices, and reconfigurable optical-add drop multiplexers will benefit directly from the development of this technology, enabling unprecedented reduction in size and power consumption. The latter is a problem of ever increasing importance as the demands of the Internet continue to strain the capabilities of existing data center networking solutions. We would like to emphasize the recent explosive development of data center networking. Companies like Google and Yahoo are being faced with unprecedented challenges in the management of the torrent of data that floods the Internet. They must try to keep up with a network that is developing more than 10 exabytes (1018) of new information per month. There is strong interest in the data center networking community in optical solutions, if they can be made cost effective. The proposed EO modulator array technology has the potential to be high bandwidth and low cost, precisely what is desired by the data center networking community

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