Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the research in a project aimed at developing manufacturing techniques for integrated optical and electronic interconnect printed circuit boards (OPCB) including the motivation for this research, the progress, the achievements and the interactions between the partners. Design/methodology/approach - Several polymer waveguide fabrication methods were developed including direct laser write, laser ablation and inkjet printing. Polymer formulations were developed to suit the fabrication methods. Computer-aided design (CAD) tools were developed and waveguide layout design rules were established. The CAD tools were used to lay out a complex backplane interconnect pattern to meet practical demanding specifications for use in a system demonstrator. Findings - Novel polymer formulations for polyacrylate enable faster writing times for laser direct write fabrication. Control of the fabrication parameters enables inkjet printing of polysiloxane waveguides. Several different laser systems can be used to form waveguide structures by ablation. Establishment of waveguide layout design rules from experimental measurements and modelling enables successful first time layout of complex interconnection patterns. Research limitations/implications - The complexity and length of the waveguides in a complex backplane interconnect, beyond that achieved in this paper, is limited by the bend loss and by the propagation loss partially caused by waveguide sidewall roughness, so further research in these areas would be beneficial to give a wider range of applicability. Originality/value - The paper gives an overview of advances in polymer formulation, fabrication methods and CAD tools, for manufacturing of complex hybrid-integrated OPCBs. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
- Manufacturing systems
- Printed circuits