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FLEXURE ALIGNMENT GUIDE/DEVICE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004734D
Publication Date: 2001-Apr-24
Document File: 4 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

In optical applications, there exists a need to align lens blocks to and among substrates. A lens block in this context includes a body with some symmetrical lens having a focal point. A lens block includes, but is not limited to, an optical fiber having a transmissive core as well as a ribbon of a plurality of optical fibers. A substrate to which the lens block may be coupled and precise alignment desired includes, but is not limited to, waveguides and optical transceivers.

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FLEXURE ALIGNMENT GUIDE/DEVICE

In optical applications, there exists a need to align lens blocks to and among substrates. A lens block in this context includes a body with some symmetrical lens having a focal point. A lens block includes, but is not limited to, an optical fiber having a transmissive core as well as a ribbon of a plurality of optical fibers. A substrate to which the lens block may be coupled and precise alignment desired includes, but is not limited to, waveguides and optical transceivers.

Prior techniques of aligning, for example, waveguides with fiber ribbons or transceivers include mounting the devices on a submount base and coupling the devices with epoxy. The epoxy, while soft or malleable may be used as part of the alignment technique by positioning the active/passive devices in respect to one another within six degrees of freedom. In this context, six degrees of freedom is a term defining linear movement in either direction along each of three mutually perpendicular axes (e.g., x, y, and z axes), and rotation about each of the three axes in either direction. The term "degree of freedom" means that movement on any axis does not exclude any other simultaneous movement on any other axis. Thus, a six degrees of freedom device can interpret all possible motions within the three dimensional world.

One problem with using epoxy as an alignment aid is that epoxy is susceptible to environmental effects, particularly temperature. Epoxy may, for example, poorly withstand elevated temperatures to which the assembled device may be exposed, thus compromising the alignment of the devices that make up the structure. What is needed is an alignment aid that is resistant to environmental effects, particularly temperature.

An alignment guide for aligning a lens block or a plurality of lens blocks is described. The alignment guide comprises a body made of a malleable or ductile material and having a plurality of leaf springs to allow six degrees of freedom. A particularly suitable material for the body is a metallic material, such as a metallic material comprising nickel (Ni).

Figures 1-3 illustrate different views of an alignment guide. Illustrated is lens block 10 that comprises a symmetrical lens having a focal point. Lens block 10 includes a substrate that is coupled to an optical fiber, the fiber core representing the focal point of the lens block. Lens block 10, in this embodiment, is coupled to alignment guide 100 about its base. Suitable coupling techniques include forming alignment guide 100 having opening 110 with dimensions corresponding to lens block 10 to allow lens block to be pressure fitted and seated within alignment guide 100.

Alignment guide 100 is, for example, a unitary body of a plurality of leaf springs. In the example of a metallic alignment guide, the plurality of leaf springs are formed by indentations within the alignment guide body. Thus, referring to Figures 1-3, alignment guide 100 includes a first leaf spring formed by i...