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Proceedings Paper

Deep proton writing: a powerful rapid prototyping technology for various micro-optical components
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Paper Abstract

One of the important challenges for the deployment of the emerging breed of nanotechnology components is interfacing them with the external world, preferably accomplished with low-cost micro-optical devices. For the fabrication of this kind of micro-optical modules, we make use of deep proton writing (DPW) as a generic rapid prototyping technology. DPW consists of bombarding polymer samples with swift protons, which results after chemical processing steps in high quality micro-optical components. The strength of the DPW micro-machining technology is the ability to fabricate monolithic building blocks that include micro-optical and mechanical functionalities which can be precisely integrated into more complex photonic systems. In this paper we give an overview of the process steps of the technology and we present several examples of micro-optical and micro-mechanical components, fabricated through DPW, targeting applications in optical interconnections and in bio-photonics. These include: high-precision 2-D fiber connectors, out-of-plane coupling structures featuring high-quality 45° and curved micro-mirrors, arrays of high aspect ratio micro-pillars, and fluorescence and absorption detection bio-photonics modules. While DPW is clearly not a mass fabrication technique as such, one of its assets is that once the master component has been prototyped, a metal mould can be generated from the DPW master by applying electroplating. After removal of the plastic master, this metal mould can be used as a shim in a final microinjection moulding or hot embossing step. This way, the master component can be mass-produced at low cost in a wide variety of high-tech plastics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7716, Micro-Optics 2010, 77160W (13 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.853645
Show Author Affiliations
Jürgen Van Erps, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Michael Vervaeke, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Christof Debaes, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Heidi Ottevaere, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Sara Van Overmeire, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Alex Hermanne, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Hugo Thienpont, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7716:
Micro-Optics 2010
Hugo Thienpont; Peter Van Daele; Jürgen Mohr; Hans Zappe, Editor(s)

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