The increasing demand for planar polymer optical waveguides integrated into electrical printed circuit boards (PCB)
calls for mass production capabilities: Hence, appropriate materials, systems, assembly concepts and production
technologies become vital, in order to guarantee a high reproducibility and quality of the waveguides. The manufacturing
and assembly costs have to be kept on a low level, while the integration of the highly sensible waveguides into the rough
environment of PCB's with their cheap and non-ideal substrates is a particular challenge.
The present paper describes an assembly and manufacturing technology for electro-optical circuit boards which meets
First, the manufacturing and characterization of multimode polymer waveguides is presented and the process for layer
deposition and structuring is described. Specific attention is given to the reproducibility of these processes ensuring the
high optical quality of the waveguides. Additionally, some problems arising from the integration of the waveguides into
the PCB's are discussed.
Second, various light coupling concepts are presented. In particular, a novel mirror element based on parabolic reflectors
is described. The optical design was calculated analytically and optimized using computer simulations. The mirror
element was fabricated using injection molding in a reproducible manner at high quantities and lowest cost.
To allow for a wider tolerance in the subsequent assembly steps our novel electro-optical transceivers concept facilitates
the use of conventional SMD- placement machines for mounting which makes the process very cost effective. This
concept was demonstrated successfully and is also described within the third section.
In the last part the practical use of this building set is illustrated with different successfully realized applications in the
field of ICT and optical sensor technology.