Printed micro-optics

3D nanoprinting of free-form coupling elements for hybrid photonic integration

Hybrid photonic integration combines complementary advantages of different material platforms, offering superior performance and flexibility compared with monolithic approaches. This applies in particular to multi-chip concepts, where components can be individually optimized and tested.

Up to now the assembly of such systems, however, requires expensive high-precision alignment and adaptation of optical mode profiles.

We show that these challenges can be overcome by in situ printing of facetattached beam-shaping elements. Our approach allows precise adaptation of vastly dissimilar mode profiles and permits alignment tolerances compatible with cost-efficient passive assembly techniques. We demonstrate a selection of beam-shaping elements at chip and fibre facets, achieving coupling efficiencies of up to 88% between edge-emitting lasers and single-mode fibres. We also realize printed free-form mirrors that simultaneously adapt beam shape and propagation direction, and we explore multi-lens systems for beam expansion. The concept paves the way to automated assembly of photonic multi-chip systems with unprecedented performance and versatility.

Freeform_Optical-ElementsVanguard Photonics’ collaborators at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have recently published these methods that allow to connect single-mode components using 3D-printed freeform optics in Nature Photonics see to find out more.

The technology is commercialized by Vanguard Photonics GmbH. Take a look at our web-shop or contact us for further information.

© Philipp-Immanuel Dietrich


Printed micro-optics

microlensesPhotonic designers are creative folks and continuously come up with new ideas. Why slow this down by long prototyping cycles?

We can print a wide variety of customized or custom-designed micro-optical elements such as lensed fibre arraysmicro-lenses and free-form elements with sub-micrometer accuracy – on chip surfaces, laser facets, and optical fibers.

Micro-lenses fabricated by two-photon polymerization at the edge of a silicon photonic chip [see References 5, 6] (Picture: P. Dietrich, KIT)