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Embossed Laminate Optical Layers On Printed Circuit Boards
Keywords: Optical, Interconnect, Laminate
Printed circuit board (PCB) level optical interconnect have been explored intensively for short-distance data transfer on electro-opto (EO) PCBs. Most proposed optical interconnect solutions use non-standardized manufacturing techniques in casting polymer waveguides within PCB substrates relying on high precision optical alignment and requiring lossy optical vias for three-dimensional signal routing. Three-dimensional optical routing is necessary in EOPCBs to avoid intersecting electrical traces and to allow convenient interface to a packaged chip. We present a process and method to facilitate PCB-level optical communication using laminate manufacturing techniques. Surface mount optical components are placed on a PCB and a patterned optical laminate is embossed on top of the board. The laminate material traps the optical signal within the substrate and broadcasts it across the surface of the circuit board. Photo detectors tuned to the corresponding wavelengths of the LEDs can then detect the broadcasted signals. Board designers using traditional PCB design methods can easily integrate electro-optical systems into prior designs without redesigning the whole device, and mother-to-daughter board communication can also be accomplished. Geometric features embossed in the laminate act as optical components and enable direct routing of optical signals between regions of the circuit board.
Jonas Tsai,
University of California Irvine
Irvine, CA

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