Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Robert R. McLeod

Second Advisor

Carol Cogswell

Third Advisor

Rafael Piestun

Fourth Advisor

Zoya Popovic

Fifth Advisor

Jerry Qi


This thesis demonstrates three-dimensional gradient index (GRIN) optics fabricated in two diffusive photopolymers. These polymer optical components have localized gradient index structures, which are self-developed in diffusive photopolymers by introducing localized illuminations. Based on the sizes of the formed index structures, the photopolymer optics studied in this thesis fall into two categories: GRIN lens based optics and waveguide based optics. GRIN lenses and lens arrays with parabolic index profiles are created through Gaussian beam exposure, while GRIN lenses with arbitrary index profiles are created through a dual-axis galvo scanning system. Waveguide based optics, which include uniform waveguides, waveguide tapers, waveguides through thin optics and 900 sharp waveguide bends, are fabricated through direct-write lithography. Several quantitative characterization methods for the fabricated polymer optics are described. The index profiles of the GRIN lens based optics are quantitatively measured by a modified scanning transmission phase microscope and a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor. Three-dimensional mode profile characterization of the polymer waveguides is carried out through a novel polymer sample preparation procedure and an active mode imaging system. A single mode performance is confirmed for the fabricated waveguides. A loss measurement for the waveguides is also accomplished. An index formation model is developed for a diffusive polymer developed by Dr. McLeod's group, which provides a fundamental guidance for fabricating custom-design index structures in the polymer. A hybrid GRIN axicon lens is fabricated to significantly extend the depth of focus in an endoscopy OCT application. Potential applications of the fabricated polymer optics include hybrid integrated optical circuits. The diffusive photopolymer with self-development characteristics provides a platform to integrate various optoelectronic subcomponents in integrated optical circuits.