Pre-Development of an Optical Vertical Coupling Mechanism for the Passive and Automatable Interconnection of Photonic Components

New advances in photonic interconnection technologies are needed to keep pace with the ever larger amounts of data that are being processed in data centers. Co-packaging is one promising avenue, but it brings with it new challenges concerning the optical coupling of optical fiber connectors and photonic chips (PICs) with interposers that act as the bridges connecting several optical or microelectronical components on the tiny scale involved here. The extreme precision required during assembly currently stands in the way of any meaningful automation and scaling-up of the process.

The GISC concept (gradient index surface coupling) was set up to develop a new approach to coupling glass-embedded waveguides and optical fibers or photonic chips on the glass surface. It works by exploiting the abilities of gradient index lenses to achieve coupling on the glass boards’ surface without any need for that surface to be specially processed. The concept may allow greater tolerances when placing the coupled components, which would facilitate automated assembly. Different means for coupling with fibers or chips are possible and are being investigated in the project.

Funding Initiative:

Wissenschaftliche Vorprojekte (WiVoPro): Photonics and Quantum Technologies