High Performance Self-Assembled Electro-optic Materials and Modulating Devices (20042)

Electric field poled polymers are currently used to fabricate organic based modulators. The present invention provides a chemical process, employing self-assembly molecules to create the electro active layer in organic based modulators,without electric field poled polymers. This affords greater device stability atpotentially reduced fabrication cost.

ADVANTAGES: Robust,adherent, intrinsically acentric microstructures are produced without electric field poling. The self-assembly process is amenable to automated production processes, modular and flexible. Electro-optic (EO) modulator design is simple and fabrication is straightforward. Self-assembled superlattice structures (SAS) can be grown on a variety of substrates, allowing efficient integration with other device components. The invention has utility in a wide range of EO devices including modulators, waveguides, switches, emitters and detectors.

SUMMARY: Organic polymer based modulators exhibit significant advantages when compared to the inorganic crystal devices, including higher speed and lower half-wave voltage (Vp). Currently organic modulators employ poled polymers as the electro-optic active layer. These modulators require electric field poling voltages between 500V to 1000V to achieve requisite polymer orientation, which increases the electrode size needed. Moreover, the polar alignment declines over time, as the device experiences thermal cycling and exposure to elevated temperatures. Such disadvantages increase device complexity and cost.

This invention relates to a novel approach wherein "smart" molecules and chemistry are implemented to induce high-response chromophore arrays to spontaneously organize in acentric microstructures using a layer-by-layer growth process (Molecular Self-Assembly). These self-assembled superlattice structures are produced without electric field poling, a significant advance. The design of such EO modulators is simple and fabrication is straightforward.

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: A variety of SAS structures have been demonstrated and characterized. One embodiment has been used to fabricate an EO modulator. U. S. Patent 6,549,685 has issued and you may view the first page as follows.

Inventor(s): Tobin J. Marks, Seng-Tiong Ho, Milko E. van der Boom, Yi-Guang Zhao, Albert Lu

Type of Offer: Licensing

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