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Publication Detail
Innovative Optical and Electronic Interconnect Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing Research
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Selviah DR, Walker AC, Hutt DA, Milward D, Wang K, Papakonstantinou I, Baghsiahi H, McCarthy A, Suyal H, Chappell J, Zakariyah SS
  • Publication date:
  • Status:
  • Name of conference:
    Technical Session Chair and 2nd Electronics System-Integration Technolgy Conference (ESTC) Greenwich, UK, 3rd September 2008
This paper is suitable as a plenary presentation as it provides an overview of one of the two major Flagship Projects of the Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre (IeMRC), the Integrated Optical and Electronic PCB Manufacturing (OPCB) Project and is presented by the three principal investigators from the three universities after an introduction from the Industrial Project Manager. This major £1.3 million project has a consortium of 3 complementary university departments and 10 companies. It fits precisely within the remit of the ESTC conference as the project is concerned with solving the problems of integration of disparate emerging technologies into a combined system and involves modelling, simulation and design, microoptoelectronics , new materials and processes, advanced packaging, manufacturing and test technology, reliability, and standards. Bandwidth limitations and electromagnetic interference (EMI) in conventional printed circuit boards (PCBs) are becoming apparent at the high bit rates that industry now demands and the emerging OPCB technology offers an attractive high bandwidth, low cost solution. OPCBs contain layers of copper tracks with vias as usual but they also have additional optical layers consisting of multimode polymer waveguide interconnects which can easily carry 10 Gb/s and higher data rates. The research at UCL covers the modelling, simulation and design of multimode polymer waveguides and the development of test technology for characterising the waveguides. The modelled results are compared with experimental measurements to determine design rules for waveguide components such as 90° bends, tapers and bent tapers and the design rules are incorporated into commercial Cadence Allegro PCB layout software and used to design complex waveguide interconnection patterns for system demonstrators. Figure 1 shows the end facet of three waveguides cut by a dicing saw when the right hand waveguide is illuminated. The figure shows optical crosstalk between the waveguides via a thin core polymer layer between the waveguides remaining after photolithographic fabrication. Heriot-Watt University has previously developed a direct UV-laser-writing technique and custom photo-polymer so as to form multimode polymer waveguides and embedded 45º out-of-plane mirrors. In the OPCB project, the key aim is to explore how these techniques can be extended to suit optical backplane applications – both in the context of scale and manufacturability. Figure 2 is an optical microscope image showing an end-on view of a back-illuminated clad laser-written polymer multimode waveguide core on an FR4 substrate. The core was written at 100 mm/s i.e. an effective writing speed of 50 mm/s. The research at Loughborough covers the manufacturing of polymer waveguides using existing laser ablation tools at a commercial PCB manufacturer, Stevenage Circuits. The research also covers a novel waveguide manufacturing technique using ink-jet printing which has the potential to enable fast printing over large areas saving the amount of polymer used. Figure 3 shows photographs taken by a high speed camera of droplets of polymer in transit from the Xaar ink-jet head to the PCB surface.
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