A variable optical attenuator (VOA) made of novel low-loss fluorinated polymers is demonstrated showing a low operating power of less than 30 mW, due to the superior thermo-optic effect of polymer material. Less than 1.0 dB of the device insertion loss is achieved by incorporating highly fluorinated polymers with a low absorption loss for 1550nm. Device characteristics with a closed-loop feedback control circuit are investigated, exhibiting low wavelength and negligible temperature dependence for the practical attenuation application. By following the completed reliability test of the Telcordia GR1221, the reliability issue of the polymeric device is carefully addressed in order to confirm that the device has sufficient reliability for commercial applications. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.