Arrayed Fiberoptics introduces high-performance epoxy-free fiber arrays (EFFAs) for planar lightwave circuits

January 30, 2004

2 Min Read

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Arrayed Fiberoptics Corporation, the leader in enabling next-generation fiberoptic components, today announced its epoxy-free fiber array, designed to be used as a subcomponent for planar lightwave circuits (PLCs), such as arrayed waveguide gratings (AWGs).

Currently, the industrial practice for PLC waveguide-to-fiber coupling is simple butt-coupling using epoxy. In this approach, the PLC edges are polished, aligned, and epoxy bonded to a fiber array device. The fiber array device is typically made by machining V-grooves into the surface of a glass or silicon plate, and placing the fibers in these grooves. Epoxy bonding is proven to provide quick and simple alignment, low cost, and robust packaging. Unfortunately, this approach leaves epoxy in the optical path, where it causes limitations in power, performance, and reliability due to epoxy degradation. These problems are most acute for AWGs, because they are typically used in long-haul DWDM applications, which require very high power. These limitations have inspired various attempts to eliminate epoxy from the optical path, typically through the use of additional hardware such as microlenses or external mounting plates. However, due to the complexity and cost of these approaches, they have not been widely adopted.

Arrayed Fiberoptics' epoxy-free fiber arrays (EFFAs) incorporate a patent-pending, integrated epoxy-blocking structure. These EFFAs preserve the simplicity, low-cost, and robustness of typical fiber butt-coupling, while keeping the optical path epoxy-free. As a result, PLC manufacturers can use their existing packaging designs with very little modification. These EFFAs offer an unprecedented combination of power handling, performance, price, miniaturization, and reliability. They can be configured in linear arrays up to 1x64 channels and 2-D arrays, with array pitch as small as 127 um. Even in large arrays, EFFAs provide very precise positioning of fibers, to +/- 0.3 um in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions. This is much higher precision than is available from the V-groove technology traditionally used for similar applications. Arrayed Fiberoptics' EFFAs thus not only enable higher power and reliability in devices, but they also enable improved device performance due to better alignment precision. Further, unlike V-grooves, these EFFAs enable not only linear arrays, but also 2-D arrays.

"We are pleased to offer these epoxy-free fiber array subcomponents to leading fiberoptic component vendors. EFFAs offer the well-established benefits of epoxy butt-coupling while elegantly eliminating the problems of epoxy in the optical path," said Ben Connors, Vice President of Arrayed Fiberoptics Corporation. "They enable breakthroughs in cost, performance, and functionality for many devices."

Arrayed Fiberoptics Corp.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like