Printing and forming of optical waveguides

Printing mould for optical networks: On a flexographic printing machine, transparent acrylic varnish is sprayed on a foil substrate first. (Photo: ITA)

ITA | In future, printed optical waveguides will be used for multimedia transmission in cars and aeroplanes. The requirements are correspondingly large bandwidths and three-dimensional forming. DFG approves another three years of research of OPTAVER research group, in which scientists from ITA and LZH work together with fellows from Nuremberg, Erlangen and Dresden.

In the research group Optical Assembly and Connection Technology for Optical Bus Systems  (OPTAVER), researchers of the Institute of Transport and Automation Technology (ITA) are investigating the printing process for optical networks using an industrial printing machine. In cooperation with the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), they want to adapt their research results for an application on three-dimensional objects: The optical waveguides that are printed on foils are formed by a thermoforming machine for three-dimensional circuit carriers. 

The researchers want to realize bandwidths which can supply an aeroplane with more than 300 passengers with a 4K video signal. To realize this large amount of data, they want to integrate the polymer optical waveguides (POW) into the later component. The POWs are formed by heating the foil with the printed waveguides in a thermoforming machine to forming temperature and by forming it by a vacuum into the later shape.

by Gerd-Albert Hoffmann

Image gallery for this article

  • Printing mould for optical networks: On a flexographic printing machine, transparent acrylic varnish is sprayed on a foil substrate first. (Photo: ITA)
  • Waveguides of 100 µm width: The conditioned foil substrates are characterized optically. (Source: ITA)
  • Enhanced process chain: The optical networks printed on foils are formed on a thermoforming machine for three-dimensional circuit carriers. (Quelle: ITA)
This website uses cookies to provide you with the best possible functionality. You agree to the use of cookies by using our website without changing your preferences. (Data Protection)