Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Materials Science and Engineering (M.S.M.S.E)

Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Venkat Bhethanabotla, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Thomas Weller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jing Wang, Ph.D.


3d printing, 3d printing optical fiber, DPAM, 3D printed optics


High performance communications, sensing and computing systems are growing exponentially as modern life continues to rely more and more on technology. One of the factors that are currently limiting computing and transmission speeds are copper wire interconnects between devices. Optical fiber interconnects would greatly increase the speed of today’s electronic devices. In this study it has been demonstrated that by using a new Direct Print Additive Manufacturing (DPAM) process of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) of plastic and micro-dispensing of pastes and inks, we can 3D print single and multi-mode optical fibers in a controlled manner such that compact, 3-dimensional optical interconnects can be printed along non-lineal paths.

We are FDM printing the core materials from a plastic PMMA material. We are dispensing a urethane optical adhesive as the core material. These materials are available in many different refractive indices. During numerical simulations of these fibers, we were able to show through manipulation of the refractive indices of the core and cladding that we can also improve the bend performance of our fibers. As a result, they can perform better as an interconnect in tight routings between components as long as the interconnect fiber distances remain less than 1 meter.

Fibers have been fabricated with diameters between 77 and 17 µm across an air gap with a surface roughness of less than 450 nm and cladded and tested with transmission rates of about 46%. 12 µm fibers have successfully been fabricated on a cladded surface as a proof of concept to test the small diameter and 3D shaping capability of this process.