Photonic devices mean that light can be used in manufacturing for communications and sensing. How are these devices assembled?
The alignment and bonding (assembly) of free-beam optics, opto-electronic components and/or fiber-optic pigtails into finished photonic devices is often referred to as photonics packaging. Typical devices include: datacom/telecom transceivers and ROSA/TOSA, high-power multi-emitter assemblies and stacked laser diode bars, optofluidic systems, micro-optics, fiber-coupled devices, camera modules, automotive LIDAR, photonics-based sensors, and much more.
Steps required for automating the assembly process include multi-axis, sub-micron-accuracy component alignment (active/passive) and subsequent bonding using epoxy compounds, laser welding and/or laser-induced soldering. All assembly steps need to comply with stringent requirements for process repeatability, performance reliability and yield, in order to adhere to standard manufacturing practices. This needs to be achieved whilst still enabling minimal process cycle time.
Devices also need to be tested and this encompasses LIV tests, burn-in, validation, characterization, verification and mass production ‘go’/ ‘no go’ testing from early prototyping (with multi-project wafers, MPW) and mass market production. This is required for all devices, from simple devices such as VCSELs and laser diode chips to complex photonics transceivers, sensors, compact camera modules (CCM), and other opto-electronics.
From Lab to Fab
Why ‘From Lab to Fab’? The current trend from singulated chips toward in-line and also full wafer-level approaches is an increasingly important aspect in manufacturing. This transition for photonics component manufacturing is similar to the integrated micro-electronics industry in the 1970’s.
At the moment, materials R&D initiatives and system approaches still need automation-capable, flexible, multi-functional micro-assembly machines for low-volume testing of packaging approaches and device concepts. However, the development of highly-automated assembly and packaging equipment is required for the growing in-line, and the proposed wafer-level manufacturing and testing schemes for high-volume ‘fab-type’ photonics applications.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by ficonTEC Service GmbH.
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