SABIC resin to be used in Fibre optic lens arrays


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Sep 15, 2023

SABIC resin to be used in Fibre optic lens arrays

A WDM module enables simultaneous transmission of multiple wavelengths of light

A WDM module enables simultaneous transmission of multiple wavelengths of light over a single fiber, achieving a significant increase in bandwidth capacity. This innovative design uses SABIC's ULTEM resin, a near-infrared (IR)-transparent, high-heat polyetherimide (PEI) material, to mould an integrated connector (previously metal) and receiving lens array (previously glass) and provide a housing for the WDM component. By enabling part integration and avoiding secondary operations, the company claims that the resin helps to make single-mode WDM communications more affordable. Blovelight claims its module not only reduces costs vs. individual parts made with glass or metal, but also streamlines manufacturing and assembly.

Blovelight's optical lens array for the WDM module complies with the Telcordia GR-468 qualification for optoelectronic devices.

"I would like to thank SABIC's ULTEM resin team for their excellent support in the development of our integrated WDM module," said David Guo, Blovelight director. "The high-performance ULTEM resin enabled us to create this advanced solution for the optic communications market. We look forward to our next collaboration with SABIC."

Scott Fisher, business director, ULTEM Resins and Additives, SABIC added; "The successful Blovelight application is a good example of customer collaboration that extends far beyond supplying materials, Blovelight developed a concept and design for solving a tough data capacity and energy problem in an affordable way. We were able to help them achieve their goals by providing not only a novel material solution but also expertise in design, application development and processing through our Opto-electronic Center of Excellence. The center underscores our strong focus on advancing the state of the art in photonics, particularly the adoption of advanced, energy-reducing technologies that facilitate fast, reliable, high-capacity communications."

Wavelength-division multiplexing is a key enabling technology for fibre optics. It increases bandwidth by allowing different data streams to be sent simultaneously over a single optical fiber network. Furthermore, WDM technology can be a more energy-efficient option for data communication compared to traditional technologies, especially over long distances. It is claimed that ULTEM resin can contribute to WDM optimization by facilitating design integration, streamlining production and replacing traditional materials that typically have higher system costs.

SABIC believes that its material is an excellent candidate material for single-mode optical transceiver lenses. Compared to aspherical glass lenses, according to the company it provides greater design freedom and high-volume, high-speed production without the need for secondary grinding and polishing. From a performance standpoint, ULTEM resin delivers high near-IR transmission (>88% at 850-1550nm), a high refractive Index and excellent dimensional stability over a wide temperature range (-40℃ to 85℃) to help ensure consistent alignment with single-mode fibers. SABIC also claims that ULTEM resin also met the demands of the assembly process for Blovelight's WDM application by providing high mechanical strength, dimensional stability, and the ability to build miniaturized, multichannel parts.

Producer of chemicals and resins, SABIC has collaborated with China's Blovelight, Ltd., to develop what the company's believe is one of the first integrated, single-mode fibre optic lens arrays that are well-suited for a wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) module.