A study is hereby presented on system embedded photonic interconnect technologies, which would address the communications bottleneck in modern exascale data centre systems driven by exponentially rising consumption of digital information and the associated complexity of intra-data centre network management along with dwindling data storage capacities. It is proposed that this bottleneck be addressed by adopting within the system electro-optical printed circuit boards (OPCBs), on which conventional electrical layers provide power distribution and static or low speed signaling, but high speed signals are conveyed by optical channels on separate embedded optical layers. One crucial prerequisite towards adopting OPCBs in modern data storage and switch systems is a reliable method of optically connecting peripheral cards and devices within the system to an OPCB backplane or motherboard in a pluggable manner. However the large mechanical misalignment tolerances between connecting cards and devices inherent to such systems are contrasted by the small sizes of optical waveguides required to support optical communication at the speeds defined by prevailing communication protocols. An innovative approach is therefore required to decouple the contrasting mechanical tolerances in the electrical and optical domains in the system in order to enable reliable pluggable optical connectivity. This thesis presents the design, development and characterisation of a suite of new optical waveguide connector interface solutions for electro-optical printed circuit boards (OPCBs) based on embedded planar polymer waveguides and planar glass waveguides. The technologies described include waveguide receptacles allowing parallel fibre connectors to be connected directly to OPCB embedded planar waveguides and board-to-board connectors with embedded parallel optical transceivers allowing daughtercards to be orthogonally connected to an OPCB backplane. For OPCBs based on embedded planar polymer waveguides and embedded planar glass waveguides, a complete demonstration platform was designed and developed to evaluate the connector interfaces and the associated embedded optical interconnect. Furthermore a large portfolio of intellectual property comprising 19 patents and patent applications was generated during the course of this study, spanning the field of OPCBs, optical waveguides, optical connectors, optical assembly and system embedded optical interconnects.

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