Lightwave Logic says new patent enables mass-volume manufacturing of polymer modules

July 1, 2021
The patent opens the door for the development of large-foundry process development kits that incorporate Lightwave Logic’s electro-optic polymer modulators, the company states, which would then lead to opportunities for mass volume commercialization.

Lightwave Logic Inc. (OTCQX: LWLG), which is developing proprietary electro-optic polymers for photonic applications, says it has received a U.S. patent on a modulator device design that will enable mass-volume manufacturing as part of integrated photonic platforms. U.S. Patent number 11,042,051, "Direct drive region-less polymer modulator methods of fabricating and materials therefor," describes a design that offers improved reliability and optical mode control and offers lower power consumption via direct-drive, low-voltage operation, the company asserts.

The patent opens the door for the development of large-foundry process development kits (PDKs) that incorporate Lightwave Logic’s electro-optic polymer modulators, the company states, which would then lead to opportunities for mass volume commercialization using these foundries. (For more on the company's work, see "Lightwave Logic develops ‘polymer without a package’ approach for photonic integration" and "Lightwave Logic touts photostability of ultra-high-speed polymer for modulators.")

"We are pleased to receive yet another powerful patent, providing us with significant freedom of manufacturing and positioning us for efficient, mass-volume commercialization of our technology with large foundries," said Dr. Michael Lebby, CEO of Lightwave Logic. "The patent emphasizes our technology platform using fabrication techniques that would naturally fit into foundry PDKs. Our technology is proving to be more important than ever as the industry and service providers increasingly consider high-speed, low-power, and foundry compatibility – such as our technology offers – to be key metrics for success."

Another key metric of success likely would be officially offering a product or two. Lightwave Logic has publicly discussed three implementations of its polymer-based modulator technology – a standalone Polymer Stack modulator device and two methods of integrating the polymer modulator capability into multifunction photonic integrated circuits (PICs) based on either silicon photonics or InP. In the integration case, the Polymer Plus approach sees the polymer added as a layer of the wafer, whereas the Polymer Slot sees a smaller amount of polymer laid into a “slot” within a wafer layer, surrounded by other material.

In a recorded presentation from the company’s May 27, 2021, annual shareholder meeting, Lebby described the polymer technology as moving from Step 6 to Step 7 of a nine-step technology maturity scale. Step 8 is the beginning of manufacturing – however, Lebby’s presentation did not include a prediction on when that step will be taken. He did say that he hopes to have tested chips and packaged prototypes of the Polymer Plus implementation in the next year, so that looks to be the first product, likely at a bandwidth performance level of 70-GHz. Along these lines, Lebby also stated that the company is open to licensing its technology or some other sort of technology transfer that would see a partner use the polymer modulator capability in its own designs. Lebby said the company has a packaging partner in place, as well as transceiver partners for technology evaluation.

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