Thermo-reversibly Crosslinked Cladding Materials with Highly Tunable Conductivity for Nonlinear Optical Polymer-based Devices

Introduction A typical electro-optic waveguide device includes a lower electrode layer, a lower cladding layer, an active guiding layer, an upper cladding layer, and an upper electrode layer. The purpose of the cladding layers in an electro-optic device is to confine light in the active guiding layer and to isolate the guiding layer from poling and device operating electrodes. Once particular problem associated with optimizing the nonlinear optical (NLO) activity of an active guiding layer in a multi-layered device is that during electric field poling at a temperature higher than the glass transition temperature of the active guiding layer, the conductivity of the cladding material intermediate the poling electrodes and active guiding layer reduces the voltage drop across the core. Maximized NLO activity of the core requires a greater applied poling voltage. A need exists for cladding materials having increased conductivities, and preferably conductivity greater than that of the active guiding later such that a greater percentage of the applied poling voltage is dropped across the active guiding layer resulting in a realization of a maximized NLO activity in the active guiding layer while minimizing applied poling voltage. Technology description Researchers at the University of Washington have designed a cladding material and a method for using the material in waveguides. The cladding material is a thermally reversibly crosslinked polymer having low optical loss that can be reverted to its linear (non-crosslinked and crosslinkable) precursors on heating. As a result, the polymer has greater conductivity at temperatures above its glass transition temperature. These materials permit higher poling efficiency compared to a waveguide using conventional cladding polymer. Business Opportunity These materials can be useful in a variety of electro-optic devices and may be incorporated into routers for optical communication systems, waveguides for optical communication systems or for optical switching or computing applications. In addition, these materials and methods may be applied to polymer transistors or other active or passive electronic devices, as well as OLED (organic light emitting diode) or LCD (liquid crystal display) applications. Intellectual Property Position The UW has a US patent pending on this technology.

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