William H. Haemmerle - Florham Park NJ
William M. MacDonald - Lebanon NJ
Casimir R. Nijander - Lawrenceville NJ
Joseph Shmulovich - Murray Hill NJ
Wesley P. Townsend - Princeton NJ
AT&T Corp. - Murray Hill NJ
Tapered optical waveguides (33') can be easily made by using photolithographic masking and etching to define on a substrate (21) a first polymer structure (22) having a substantially uniform thickness and a tapered width. The first polymer structure is heated sufficiently to form a meniscus along its entire length. The fluidity causes the material to redistribute itself such that, rather than being of uniform thickness, it has a thickness that varies with its width; consequently, the thickness as well as the width of the first polymer structure becomes tapered. The first polymer is cooled and hardened to form a second polymer structure (22') that has a tapered width and a tapered thickness as is desirable for a tapered optical waveguide. The second polymer structure itself can be used as a tapered optical waveguide, or it can be used to control the reactive ion etching of the underlying substrate. In the latter case, the configuration of the tapered second polymer structure is replicated in a glass substrate, for example, which then may be used as a glass tapered optical waveguide (33').