Science of Soft Robots – Interdisciplinary integration of mechatronics, material science, and bio-computing

B02-04 : Growth control of self-written optical waveguides using gel materials and their application to flexible optical interconnections


Leader Okihiro Sugihara (Utsunomiya University)

In self-written optical waveguide, when a light is introduced from an optical fiber into a photopolymerizable resin, the resin polymerizes and the optical waveguide core grows automatically. The production of self-written polymeric waveguides is advantageous because it enables automation of the optical interconnection between the waveguide and the optical fiber during the waveguide formation process, and it does not require any additional alignment process. This phenomenon is called optical soldering and is of academic interest. In this study, we aim to obtain a guideline for the development of gel materials for the automatic interconnection of flexible self-written optical waveguides for future applications in automotive optical communications and robot arms, and to fabricate waveguide interconnections by freely controlling the growth direction of self-written optical waveguides by irradiating and scanning guided light. In addition to the academic value of opening up new fields, this project will also contribute to expand the application of Industry 4.0 by reducing assembling costs.