Northrop Grumman. has filed a patent for a method of making a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) by depositing a functional resist material layer, pressing a stamp with nanopatterns, and removing the stamp to create nanofeatures forming optical elements. The claim describes a PIC with a nanoimprinted resist structure over a substrate. GlobalData’s report on Northrop Grumman gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Northrop Grumman, Superconducting quantum circuits was a key innovation area identified from patents. Northrop Grumman's grant share as of January 2024 was 66%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Photonic integrated circuit with nanoimprinted resist structure

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Northrop Grumman Corp

A photonic integrated circuit (PIC) described in a filed patent (Publication Number: US20240027687A1) includes a substrate and a nanoimprinted resist structure with features forming optical elements. The resist structure can be photo-curable or thermally-curable, primarily composed of silica, titanium oxide, or semiconductor particles, and has a refractive index between 1.5 and 4.0. The substrate, with a refractive index below 1.5, can be made of materials like glass, quartz, silicon, or sapphire. The resist structure features varying heights and nanometer-scale details, created using a single stamp with inverted nanopatterns.

Another aspect of the PIC patent involves an encapsulation layer with a lower refractive index than the resist structure, providing additional functionality. The resist structure, similar to the previous claim, can be inorganic and formed from photo-curable or thermally-curable materials. The substrate remains consistent with a refractive index below 1.5 and materials like glass, quartz, silicon, or sapphire. The resist structure's features, created using a single stamp with inverted nanopatterns, include varying heights and details at different length scales. This innovative approach to designing a photonic integrated circuit offers a unique combination of materials and fabrication techniques to enhance optical performance and functionality.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.