Lumera Corporation was
recently granted another patent protecting the company's growing intellectual
property portfolio of polymer electro-optic materials and devices.
This most recent patent covers a unique fabrication process used to
develop electro-optic devices that, until recently, have been unachievable and
offers greater design flexibility as well as the ability to scale for large
volumes of production.
"This novel process gives us the flexibility to fabricate devices that fit
our customers' design needs," said Tom Mino, Lumera CEO. "It is a unique
piece of our proprietary platform technology that addresses a large, growing
market for electro-optic devices to optical interconnects."
Lumera currently has 4 issued and 3 allowed patents and has over 30 patent
applications pending that address markets such as fiber optic communications,
biotechnology, and wireless communications. The most recently issued patent
number is 6,852,563, which joins the related patents 6,822,384, 6,750,603 and
Previous processes for fabricating electrodes on a surface used wet
etching of thick metal layers. However, these processes offer limited
dimensional control since the etching occurs in all directions. Other methods
such as "lift off" procedures require metal deposition that is difficult to
practically achieve or "scale-up" in large volumes. The new method developed
by Lumera scientists and engineers avoids the use of wet etching of thick
electrodes and challenging metal deposition techniques.
Lumera's unique fabrication process uses metal deposition on a polymer
micro-ridge to form an electrode on a substrate. The resulting polymer
sustained microelectrodes can have a variety of dimensions and sizes of
electrode gaps. The polymer micro-ridge can be formed in ways that allow
smooth surfaces, dimensional control, and high volume processing.
The process is completed when an electro-optic polymer is used to fill the
gap between electrodes. The new fabrication technique enables devices with
horizontally related electrodes, whereas most electro-optic polymer devices
use vertically related electrodes.
Utilizing the techniques of this patent, Lumera has developed flexible
devices that can conform to curved surfaces, such as an aircraft body.
Similarly, such devices could apply to large optically controlled phased-array
antennas for use in space that are unrolled after the satellite is in orbit.
The total optical components market is currently estimated to reach $1 billion