Polymers are widely used today in photonics. However, these are optical polymers, not electro-optic polymers. Optical polymers are excellent for passive optics such as lenses, adhesives between lenses, and more recently, waveguides. Put simply, passive optical polymers take light from one place to another, analogous to wiring or printed circuit boards for electronics.
Electro-optic (EO) are also not new but much has changed recently. Lightwave Logic believes that polymer photonics are coming to the forefront of discussion again now for a variety of reasons, most notably the need for more robust performance characteristics. A few decades ago, there was a push for EO polymers that did not result in widespread commercialization. Lithium niobate, established and proven, took precedence in the market which was dominated by telecom demands. Its performance was adequate at the time even though it did not have the performance advantages of polymers.
Today, the market is driven by datacom. The main source of discomfort for both datacom and telecom operators is lack of performance, specifically as it relates to very high speeds and very low power consumption. Lightwave Logic has always fundamentally believed in the benefits of EO polymers and has dedicated years towards finding a solution that the industry desperately needs. As the demands of the market have caught up to the use cases for EO polymers, Lightwave Logic is better positioned than ever to capture this market and deliver solutions for active functions–controlling the light, switching it on and off– analogous to the IC chips in electronics.
Below, please find a brief excerpt from a video interview with CEO Michael Lebby in which he discusses the history of EO polymers.