Refractive Index Contrast Polymer Photonics Interconnects and Waveguides for Packaging and Integration

Case ID:

This invention represents a new chemical composition of photoresponsive, polymer photoresists, where the refractive index of the polymer can be modulated via UV radiation to facilitate the arbitrary writing of optical waveguides and other photonic devices in the material. The material can be spun on to any substrate or existing photonic device architecture and, through lithography, create polymer waveguides and enable interconnecting of individual silicon integrated photonics chips, functioning as an inexpensive optical interconnect medium. The ability to transfer an optical signal between waveguide devices is critical in the formation of optical printed circuit boards, which can provide faster processing and potentially lower cost than traditional electric printed circuit boards. Optical interconnections can be directly written to connect spatially separated waveguides using maskless lithography. The material composition leads to low optical propagation loss at telecommunications wavelengths such as 1310nm and 1550nm.

A photonic integrated circuit (PIC) integrates one or more optical components, such as modulators, lasers, detectors, multiplexers and demultiplexers, attenuators and optical amplifiers, into a system. Large-scale PICs, like their large-scale electronic counterparts, may have complex organization, requiring effective interconnections for desired system performance. Next generation photonic devices have ever increasing needs for accelerated methods to fabricate waveguiding elements and optical interconnects. In particular, polymer waveguides play an important role as optical interconnects facilitating incorporation of silicon photonics elements into the electronic processing framework, which is the new paradigm for fulfilling the demand on data centers and high performance computing. Hence, there is a compelling need to simplify and streamline polymer waveguide fabrication techniques which require spatial control of refractive index (RI, or n). While extensive efforts in polymer science have focused on methods to prepare optically transparent, high RI polymers, the creation of photoresponsive polymers, where the refractive index can be spatially defined in planar thin films to create refractive index contrast is a distinct technical challenge requiring a new class of RI-tunable materials.


  • Integrated photonic chips
  • Optical printed circuit boards


  • Improved optical circuit integration
  • Faster
  • Lower cost
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Laura Silva
Sr. Licensing Manager, COS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Dong-Chul Pyun
Robert Norwood
Julie Frish
Tristan Kleine