3D-BEAM-FLEX project aims at demonstrating the self-writing of continuous and flexible single-mode waveguides between VCSELs (Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) arrays and single-mode optical fibers in order to improve the photonic integration of these laser sources in high-speed optical interconnects ms at 850nm (datacom) and at 1.31 and 1.55µm (telecom, WDM). The tolerances on VCSEL-to-fiber coupling are indeed very tight, especially in single mode configuration, which currently needs long and expensive pre-alignment steps. In addition, the realization of efficient and truly compact optical links requires the redirection of the beam emitted by the VCSELs in the horizontal plane of the fibers and thus, the hybridization of 3D micro-optical elements by complex and non-collective assembly or in situ fabrication methods.
To overcome all these barriers, the 3D-BEAM-FLEX project proposes to explore the mechanisms of self-writing in photopolymers and to exploit them to develop an innovative two-step photofabrication process in NIR and UV ranges. Thanks to both fundamental work (understanding of photochemical mechanisms, development of formulations sensitive at 0.85, 1.31 and 1. 55µm, analysis of the created index gradient, opto-mechanical design of the waveguide) and applied (demonstration of an efficient flexible single-mode link, analysis of the self-compensation of initial misalignments, demonstration of 90° beam redirection and multichannel fabrication, study of the resistance to optical flux) and by exploiting innovative 3D additive manufacturing techniques for the integration of the self-written link in a compact optical module, we will demonstrate that this simple and generic approach, applicable in a post-processing step, leads to an optimal coupling while relaxing the stringent tolerances on devices pre-alignment.
To carry out this project, 3D-BEAM FLEX brings together a complementary consortium composed of two research institutes, LAAS-CNRS in Toulouse and IS2M-CNRS in Mulhouse, covering the fields of VCSEL sources and their photonic integration, photochemistry and microfabrication, as well as additive manufacturing by 3D printing. This cross-disciplinary expertise will enable the proposed concept to be demonstrated, with spin-offs both on fundamental and applied levels, with the development of new materials and the realization of compact optical links for data communications at several wavelengths and to a larger extent for miniaturized optical sensors.
Madame Véronique Bardinal (Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes du CNRS)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
LAAS-CNRS Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes du CNRS
IS2M Institut de Sciences des Matériaux de Mulhouse (IS2M) - UMR 7361
Help of the ANR 443,014 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 42 Months