Abstract

Optical interconnects have attracted significant research interest for use in short-reach board-level optical communication links in supercomputers and data centers. Multimode polymer waveguides in particular constitute an attractive technology for on-board optical interconnects, as they provide high bandwidth, offer relaxed alignment tolerances, and can be cost-effectively integrated onto standard printed circuit boards (PCBs). However, the continuing improvements in bandwidth performance of optical sources make it important to investigate approaches to develop high-bandwidth polymer waveguides. In this paper, we present dispersion studies on a graded-index (GI) waveguide in siloxane materials designed to deliver high bandwidth over a range of launch conditions. Bandwidth-length products of >70 and ∼65 GHz×m are observed using a 50/125 μm multimode fibre (MMF) launch for input offsets of ±10 μm without and with the use of a mode mixer (MM), respectively; and enhanced values of >100 GHz×m are found under a 10× microscope objective launch for input offsets of ∼18 × 20 μm2. The large range of offsets is within the –1 dB alignment tolerances. A theoretical model is developed using the measured refractive index profile of the waveguide, and general agreement is found with experimental bandwidth measurements. The reported results clearly demonstrate the potential of this technology for use in high-speed board-level optical links, and indicate that data transmission of 100 Gb/s over a multimode polymer waveguide is feasible with appropriate refractive index engineering.

© 2015 IEEE

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