Fabrication of Polymer-based Electrooptic Devices

Period of Performance: 04/21/2003 - 04/21/2005

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

MicroCoating Technologies (formerly CCVD)
5315 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30341
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The proposed research program seeks to continue development a totally new methodology for the fabrication of polymer-based Electrooptic (EO) waveguide devices and subsystems-on-a-chip. Other manufacturers use conventional spin-coating or dip-coating technology for these products. However, these techniques constrain the selection of polymers for the EO waveguide layer and for the upper and lower cladding layers because of the need to use solvent systems that will not disrupt the previously deposited layers. To avoid having to expose the polymer layers to potentially harmful solvents, MCT proposes to continue the successful Phase I development of MicroCoating Technologies' (MCT) patented Nanomizerr spray deposition technology for the fabrication of optically clear polymer cladding films. The key feature of the proposed approach is MCT's unique nozzle design that disperses a liquid solution of the polymer (or reactive oligomers) into sub-micron droplets. This allows the solvent to flash-evaporate as the droplets travel toward the substrate, and results in the deposition of a pinhole-free film with minimal solvent exposure to the substrate. In addition, it enables the fabrication of mode-matched waveguides having adiabatic tapers, with graduated thickness and refractive index profiles. To ensure that MCT will be working with state-of-the-art materials, MCT has established a teaming relationship with the research group of Professor Larry Dalton, a world leader in EO polymer development, for the on-going Phase I project. The proposed Phase II project will greatly enhance the selection of polymer materials for each layer of an EO polymer device, and will allow device designers to focus on the key properties of refractive index, conductivity, thermal expansion, and optical quality without having to be concerned with solvent compatibility issues.