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Polymeric Optical Switching


The main objectives of this project were the development of optically nonlinear polymers and their application in devices to achieve basic functional elements such as electro-optical modulators and 2 x 2 electro-optical switches.
Optically nonlinear polymers with high electrooptic coefficients have been developed. The knowledge of the deposition, compatibility and process properties of these polymers resulted in the production of multilayers and basic functional devices, such as electrooptical modulators and 2x2 electrooptical switches. A low loss optical connection between the devices and optical fibres was achieved.
The results are useful for low cost optical switching matrices and have a major impact on the development of optical devices.
Technical Summary

Key issues for the project were:

- realisation of optically nonlinear polymers, with electro-optic coefficients about the same order of magnitude as those of the inorganic crystal lithium niobate
- knowledge of the deposition, compatibility and processing properties of these polymers and the thereby realised multilayers
- realisation of low loss optical connections between the devices and optical fibres
- sufficiently long lifetime and stability of the devices and functions.

The project was structured into the following three main blocks of research and development.

- materials development; this included the modification, optimisation and large scale synthesis of optically nonlinear polymers and their application in waveguiding multilayer structures
- basic functional element making; multilayers, which incorporated a substrate, electrodes, core and cladding layers, were used as starting structures for elements such as modulators and switches
- optical and electrical coupling of the basic functional elements with the outside world.


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