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Integrated plastic lens simplifies optoelectronic packaging

Integrated plastic lens simplifies optoelectronic packaging

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty



Blovelight in China has teamed with materials firm SABIC to develop one of the first integrated, single-mode fibre optic lens arrays for a wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) module.

A WDM module enables simultaneous transmission of multiple wavelengths of light over a single optical fibre, achieving a significant increase in bandwidth capacity.

SABIC’s ULTEM resin, a near-infrared (IR)-transparent, high-heat polyetherimide (PEI) material, was used to mold an integrated connector that was previously metal and the receiving lens array in a single housing for the WDM components.

By enabling the integration and avoiding secondary operations, the resin helps to make single-mode WDM communications more affordable. Blovelight’s module not only reduces costs compared to  individual parts made with glass or metal, but also streamlines manufacturing and assembly.

Compared to aspherical glass lenses, the resin provides greater design freedom and high-volume, high-speed production without the need for secondary grinding and polishing. From a performance standpoint, ULTEM resin delivers high near-IR transmission (>88% at 850-1550nm), a high refractive Index and excellent dimensional stability over a wide temperature range (-40℃ to 85℃) to help ensure consistent alignment with single-mode fibres. The resin also met the demands of the assembly process for Blovelight’s WDM application by providing high mechanical strength, dimensional stability, and the ability to build miniaturized, multichannel parts.

Blovelight’s optical lens array for the WDM module complies with the Telcordia GR-468 qualification for optoelectronic devices. This simplified, cost-effective component can potentially contribute to broader adoption of single-mode WDM fibre optics, an emerging technology that allows more energy-efficient data transmission over longer distances than multi-mode systems.

“I would like to thank SABIC’s ULTEM resin team for their excellent support in the development of our integrated WDM module,”.

“The high-performance ULTEM resin enabled us to create this advanced solution for the optic communications market. We look forward to our next collaboration with SABIC,” said David Guo, Blovelight director.

ULTEM resin has been used for multi-mode fibre optic lenses, but Blovelight saw it as a way of developing an integrated, thermoplastic WDM module for single-mode fibre optics.

“Blovelight developed a concept and design for solving a tough data capacity and energy problem in an affordable way,” said Scott Fisher, business director, ULTEM Resins and Additives at SABIC.

“We were able to help them achieve their goals by providing not only a novel material solution but also expertise in design, application development and processing through our Opto-electronic Centre of Excellence. The centre underscores our strong focus on advancing the state of the art in photonics, particularly the adoption of advanced, energy-reducing technologies that facilitate fast, reliable, high-capacity communications.”

www.sabic.com; www.blovelight.com/

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