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Integrated optical and electronic interconnect PCB manufacturing research

David R. Selviah (Department of Electronic Engineering, University College London)
Andy C. Walker (Professor of Modern Optics at Heriot Watt University)
David A. Hutt (Senior Lecturer at the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University)
Kai Wang (Research fellow)
Aongus McCarthy (member of the Optical Society of America and the IEEE Laser and Electro‐Optics Society)
F. Anibal Fernández (Senior Lecturer at UCL)
Hadi Baghsiahi (Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in UCL)
Himanshu Suyal (School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at HWU)
Mohammad Taghizadeh (Professor in Physics and Head of the HWU Diffractive and Micro‐Optics Group)
Paul Conway (Professor of Manufacturing Processes at LU)
John Chappell (Research Associate at LU)
Shefiu S. Zakariyah (Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, LU)
Dave Milward (Development Manager, in Xyratex Technologies Ltd)
Richard Pitwon (Senior Research Engineer at Xyratex Technology Ltd)
Ken Hopkins (Hardware Architect at Xyratex Ltd.)
Malcolm Muggeridge (VP Emerging Technologies at Xyratex Storage System Products)
Jeremy Rygate (Engineering Manager at Stevenage Circuits Ltd)
Jonathan Calver (Senior Production Process Engineer at Stevenage Circuits Ltd)
Witold Kandulski (Production Process Engineer at Stevenage Circuits Ltd)
David J. Deshazer (Physics Research Specialist with Dow Corning Corporation)
Karen Hueston (Development Specialist at Dow Corning)
David J. Ives (Was a Senior Research Scientist in the Photonics Group at the National Physical Laboratory)
Robert Ferguson (Photonics group within the National Physical Laboratory)
Subrena Harris (Photonics group within the National Physical Laboratory)
Gary Hinde (Platform Leader at Cadence Design Systems)
Martin Cole (Sales Director at Cadence Design Systems)
Henry White (Advanced Technology Centre of BAE Systems)
Navin Suyal (CTO of Exxelis Ltd)
Habib ur Rehman (Head of Optical Materials R&D at Exxelis Limited)
Chris Bryson (CEO of Exxelis Ltd)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 18 May 2010



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.


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.


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.


The paper gives an overview of advances in polymer formulation, fabrication methods and CAD tools, for manufacturing of complex hybrid‐integrated OPCBs.



Selviah, D.R., Walker, A.C., Hutt, D.A., Wang, K., McCarthy, A., Anibal Fernández, F., Papakonstantinou, I., Baghsiahi, H., Suyal, H., Taghizadeh, M., Conway, P., Chappell, J., Zakariyah, S.S., Milward, D., Pitwon, R., Hopkins, K., Muggeridge, M., Rygate, J., Calver, J., Kandulski, W., Deshazer, D.J., Hueston, K., Ives, D.J., Ferguson, R., Harris, S., Hinde, G., Cole, M., White, H., Suyal, N., ur Rehman, H. and Bryson, C. (2010), "Integrated optical and electronic interconnect PCB manufacturing research", Circuit World, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 5-19.



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