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Competitive Evaluation of Planar Embedded Glass and Polymer Waveguides in Data Center Environments

Pitwon, Richard; Wang, Kai; Yamauchi, Akira; Ishigure, Takaaki; Schröder, Henning; Neitz, Marcel; Singh, Mayank

Optical printed circuit board (OPCB) waveguide materials and fabrication methods have advanced considerably over the past 15 years, giving rise to two classes of embedded planar graded index waveguide based on polymer and glass. We consider the performance of these two emerging waveguide classes in view of the anticipated deployment in data center environments of optical transceivers based on directly modulated multimode short wavelength VCSELs against those based on longer wavelength single-mode photonic integrated circuits. We describe the fabrication of graded index polymer waveguides, using the Mosquito and photo-addressing methods, and graded index glass waveguides, using ion diffusion on thin glass foils. A comparative characterization was carried out on the waveguide classes to show a clear reciprocal dependence of the performance of different waveguide classes on wavelength. Furthermore, the different waveguide types were connected into an optically disaggregated data switch and storage system to evaluate and validate their suitability for deployment in future data center environments.
Published in: Applied Sciences, 10.3390/app7090940, MDPI