Modeling and Characterization of a Novel, Low-Cost, Direct-Write Waveguide
Both the current long-term telecommunication trends toward optical networking and the recent growth in information bandwidth have pushed the necessity for improved optical communications. Our fabrication approach, which leverages our expertise in solid freeform fabrication in conjunction with sol-gel technology, has advantages over these other methods because of the inherent benefits of using a direct-write philosophy, such as design flexibility and minimal post-processing. However, fabrication of such novel optical components requires extensive knowledge of their light guidance capabilities. This paper will show the technical issues involved in both modeling and characterizing small optical components fabricated by locally densifying sol-gels in a modified directwrite process.