Novel flexible optical connection for rapid and easy coupling to light emitting devices
LightStick consists of low-cost adhesive optical waveguides for rapid and easy formation of short distance interconnections. These flexible optical connections can be implemented as strips of varying length with integrated planar optical coupling elements, so that the user can select and/or create specific configurations for his/her particular needs. Commercial applications include those of plastic optical fibers (POFs), such as: chemical and physical sensors, short distance and low speed interconnections for electronic and electromechanical instrumentation, automotive and aerospace applications, etc. In particular, as a sensor, LightStick can be employed for liquid quality control and environmental monitoring.
This project was funded by “Convocatoria 2015 de Ayudas Fundación BBVA a Investigadores y Creadores Culturales.”
LightStick is a new type of optical connection based on an adhesive tape that contains flexible diffractive components for (de)coupling light. Distinctive features of LightStick are 1) the use of conventional Scotch tape as a low-cost, adhesive and flexible optical waveguide, and 2) the integration of planar and flexible coupling elements into the waveguide. These integrated components allow the user to inject/extract light perpendicular to the waveguide by simply sticking the tape to the light emitting (or detecting) device (for example, an LED); this cannot be carried out by means of the butt-coupling method typically used in POF applications. Perpendicular coupling avoids mechanical manipulation and destruction of the waveguide (cutting and polishing), which facilitates waveguide-emitter/detector assembling.
“LightStick allows the user to connect an optical waveguide to a light emitting device quickly and easily, neither needing complex and sophisticated tools nor technical knowledge”
“At present, the capabilities of LightStick to be used as an optical biosensor for biomolecule detection is under study. This could open the door to new business opportunities in key sectors such as the Biomedical field (antibody, DNA detection)”
Carlos Angulo Barrios
Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Area
Centre of Support for Technological Innovation – UPM