In this paper, the effects of environmental stresses on the properties of polymeric optical waveguides were investigated. Optical multimode waveguides were embedded on printed circuit boards by employing commercial polymers. Three optical-PCB constructions varying in board structure and in optical build-up materials were compared. The guide systems were subjected to four different tests: damp heat-high humidity, isothermal annealing, thermal shock and environmental flowing multigas test. Isothermal annealing reduced the refractive index to greatest extent. The optical-PCB structure with optical surface build-up layer was observed to be more vulnerable under temperature shock when compared with the O-PCB with optical inner layer. The buffer layer beneath the optical build-up was found to improve the stability of the optical waveguides significantly. The results indicated of a wavelength dependence to the aging factor with a failure mechanism. The factors affecting the performance and reliability of polymer-based optical waveguides on PCBs were discussed.
- optical waveguides