Polymer Waveguide Amplifiers
Polymer-based optical waveguides are a promising technology for integrating optical links onto standard printed circuit boards as they enable cost-effective manufacturing and assembly as well as offer high bandwidth. The motivation for this work is to address the lack of amplifying components the currently demonstrated polymer interconnects, which limits the complexity, functionality and reach of these systems. This dissertation studies combination of rare-earth-doped material with polymer platform to create compact erbium-doped waveguide amplifiers (EDWAs) for board-level interconnect applications.
Siloxane polymer materials developed by Dow Corning are used as they have shown the necessary optical, mechanical and thermal properties required for EDWA designs (such as the ability to withstand temperatures in excess of 350 °C). The feasibility of two approaches for integrating Er-doped materials into siloxane polymer layers is investigated, namely: (i) ultrafast laser plasma implantation (ULPI) and (ii) solution-based dispersion of Er-doped nanoparticles (NP). Er-doped thin films are prepared with these two methods and their properties investigated. The maximum dopant concentrations and lifetimes are determined to be 16.3, 4.4 and 1.5 × 10