Aerosol Jet® Printing of Optical Waveguides

Optical waveguides enable the high speed transmission of data. In this context, Polymer Optical Fibers (POF) offer a great potential for creating an optical network on system level. This pa-per presents the results of an initial study on Aerosol Jet® printed optical waveguides. Three different kinds of polymer-based inks were printed on thermoplastic and glass substrate materials. The aim was to get basic knowledge of the additive manufacturing of optical waveguides and to investigate funda-mental influences of printing parameters and the material combination on the optical (attenuation, re-fractive index, aspect-ratio) and mechanical (roughness, overspray, adhesion) characteristics. Fur-thermore, the adhesion of the printed structures on the substrate was tested with regard to a usage of printed waveguides in automotive or electronic applications. In the future, the goal will be to transfer the generated knowledge on flat substrates, into 3D applications. This is basically possible using the Aerosol Jet® Printing technology, as already proven with silver nanoparticle inks on various sub-strates. By this the freedom of design, the potential of miniaturization and the integration of compo-nents can be realized.



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Thomas Reitberger

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