By directly printing devices onto a functional resist with a high refractive index, users from aBeam Technologies and NanoOptic Devices, in partnership with Foundry staff, created optical components without the use of any etching steps. The method combines the advantages of top-down (NIL) and bottom-up (sol-gel chemistry) approaches. After annealing at high temperatures, the photonic structures shrink and reach a refractive index up to 2.1.
This new low-cost fabrication technique can produce printable a variety of integrated circuits. To demonstrate the practicality of this process, elementary optical structures like multi-mode ridge waveguides, light splitters and more complex devices like digital planar holograms (DPH) are fabricated. Printable wavelength demultiplexer-on-chips were also created and their performance was comparable to current devices fabricated by standard and more expensive technologies.