Office for Technology Commercialization

Flexible Photonic Circuits on Plastic

Technology #20130121

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Transfer-and-bond Silicon Fabrication ProcessPhotonic CircuitFlexible Substrate
Mo Li, Ph.D.
Dr. Li’s research focuses on silicon photonics, optomechanics, and NEMS/MEMS and grapheme based optoelectronics. His pioneering work include the first demonstration of optical force actuation nanodevices in 2008, the first demonstration of repulsive optical force in nanophotonic devices in 2009, integrated cavity optomechanical system in silicon photonics, the smallest, self-sensing nanocantilever with attogram mass resolution at ambient conditions in 2007.
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Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending 2014-0234995

More Efficient and Reliable Silicon Fabrication Process

A reliable and simple transfer-and-bond process method for producing integrated silicon photonics on flexible plastic films solves many of the issues found in current fabrication processes. In the flexible electronics and photonics industry, there are challenges that are in the production process, namely reliability and consistency. With the advent of silicon integration circuits on a flexible substrate came the idea of flexible electronics. However, problems in the production process arose. These photonic devices often contain nanoscale features that have to be accurately replicated to maintain the device’s functionality. With today’s current methods of production, it is difficult to consistently maintain an acceptable error rate in the production of photonic devices on flexible substrates. This method solves this dilemma through a transfer-and-bond process that physically transfers silicon photonic devices from a silicon wafer substrate to the flexible plastic films.

MN-IP Try and Buy
  • Trial period up to 18 months. $5000/6 months.
  • Fee waived if MN operating company or if sponsoring $50,000+ in research.
  • Exclusive license for a $10,000 conversion payment.
  • U.S. patent expenses due upon issuance.
  • 1.5% Royalty (1.0% for MN companies) after $1 million in product sales.

** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Kevin Nickels for specific details. **

Process of Transferring to Flexible Plastic Substrate

The process of production of the photonic circuits on flexible plastic directly transfers circuits from the silicon wafer substrates to the plastic film substrates. As opposed to current methods which incorporate a third medium (a “stamp”) to lift the circuits from the silicon wafer, this process simplifies the overall production as well as increases the reliability of the transfer. Low error-rates are achieved through this process with a high proportion of acceptable flexible photonic devices while maintaining the configuration and arrangement of nanoscale features. The flexible substrate allows for the use of mechanical flexing and compression to tune photonic devices for various applications.


  • Maintains nanoscale features during replication
  • Simplifies process through transfer-and-bond method
  • Lower error rates are achieved
  • Flexible substrate allows for tuning of device
  • Increases the reliability of the transfer