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The demand for ever increasing bandwidth is driving the need for dense fiber optical connections in applications such as datacenter interconnects and optical switches. Many of these high density connections require the use of precise, tightly-toleranced fiber alignment structures to accurately position high density optical ports.

Optoscribe’s high speed laser-induced selective etching process provides full 3D flexibility in the patterning of arrays and enables the creation of high precision, controllable microstructures in glass. It is a novel two-stage microstructuring process in glass that uses a focussed ultrashort pulsed laser to induce subsurface material patterning, localised to the focus of the laser beam. By rapidly scanning a 3D shape within the glass, regions of enhanced etch rate are created, such that upon exposing the substrate to a wet chemical etch, the irradiated regions etch preferentially.

Where laser-induced selective etching primarily differs from silicon patterning is in its adaptability, a crucial factor in a rapidly advancing industry. For example, laser induced selective etching can be performed on substantially thicker glass substrates, such as 2mm. The manufacturing process also provides a tight control over the key dimensional tolerances during micromachining of hole arrays. In addition, the 3D control provides the ability to shape the hole creating a flared entrance to allow for easy insertion of the fibers. Holes can also be formed at arbitrary angles to the surface of the glass such as the 8 degrees typically used for minimising back-reflections.

OptoArray™ solutions can be used in a wide range of applications, from multi-fiber connectors and large arrays for interfacing to optical switching hardware such as Optical Cross Connect (OXC) switches and Wavelength Selective Switches (WSS).

OptoArray™ Specifications

Parameter Value Notes
Hole diameter d > 50 μm Typical
Diameter tolerance dtol ±0.5 μm  
Glass thickness t 0.5 – 2 mm Standard wafer thickness tolerance (TTV) 10 μm.
Other tolerances may be available – contact to discuss
Pitch between holes > 1.4 x d  
Pitch tolerance ±0.5 μm  
Flare type Curved, Conical  
Flare length fl Typical 0.5 x t Can be customized to suit – contact to discuss
Angle θ 0 or 8 degrees Other angles possible – contact to discuss
Material Schott Borofloat-33 Other glasses possible including UV Fused Silica and Ultra
low expansion Fused Silica – contact to discuss
Product supply configuration Wafers or singulated die  
Holes Data Diagram Left Holes Data Diagram Right
Key Advantages

• Best-in-class dimensional tolerances

• Low CTE due to solid glass construction

• Suitable for high density 2D arrays

• High speed fabrication

• Ultimate flexibility of hole shape and array configuration

• Can be integrated with mechanical alignment features on same substrate