Photonics Automated Assembly & Testing
From Lab to Fab
Cutting-edge assembly and testing machines serving requirements
in R&D and all the way through to high-volume production
ficonTEC provides automated micro-assembly and testing solutions for the photonics industry. These solutions are realized as cutting-edge, semi- or fully-automated production systems, regardless of the device material and of the specific application the device is targeting. Our modular system architecture is additionally scalable, so that exploratory, proof-of-process assembly as well as high-volume assembly and test requirements are addressable – and anything in between.
A globally installed base of over 700 systems is already serving integrated photonics applications in telecom and datacom sectors, in sensing applications ranging from biomedical to automotive, in high-power diode laser assembly, and much more. Not resting with the status quo, ficonTEC is continually and actively involved in several internationally-supported initiatives. These initiatives promote access to integrated photonics technology through the current transition to high-volume manufacturing processes via advanced automation – regardless of whether for singulated dies or for wafer-level approaches.
Solutions & Capabilities
Automated high-precision micro-assembly and testing of
photonic and opto-electronic devices
Welcome to ficonTEC
NPI (New Product Introduction)
Machine production (timelapse)
By actively engaging in international photonics integration initiatives,
we stay ahead of current technologies and fulfil the requirements of industry
Assembly, packaging and testing remain the highest cost factors in photonic integrated circuit (PIC) production. To address this issue, international collaborations around the globe are actively researching new manufacturing concepts for PIC technology. The goal of these projects is to provide industry with the production processes and the standards that will enable manufacturing to progress from the 1000s to the 100,000s and even millions, from single chip assembly to wafer-level approaches, and where cost/part – not initial capital outlay – is the measure for equipment amortization.
ficonTEC has consistently retained a unique modular approach to its machine equipment design. Flexible and scalable options already enable customized assembly and testing solutions suitable for early device development, for new product introduction (NPI), and all the way up to high-volume production facilities – both for contract manufacturing and for in-house R&D & production.
Technologies for production
What is photonics assembly and testing?
Photonic devices enable light to be used in manufacturing,
for sensing and for communications. How are these devices assembled?
The alignment and bonding (assembly) of opto-electronic components, free-beam optics and/or fiber-optic pigtails into finished photonic devices is commonly referred to as photonics assembly and packaging. Typical devices include telecom/datacom transceivers and TOSA/ROSA, stacked laser diode bars and high-power multi-emitter assemblies, micro-optical and optofluidic systems, camera modules, fiber-coupled devices, photonics-based sensors, automotive LIDAR, and much more.
Automating the assembly process steps requires multi-axis, sub-micron-accuracy component alignment (passive/active) and subsequent bonding using epoxy compounds, laser-induced soldering and/or laser welding. In particular, in adhering to standard manufacturing practices, all assembly steps need to be compliant stringent and often bespoke requirements for yield, process repeatability and performance reliability, while still enabling minimal process cycle time.
Devices also require testing. Testing encompasses burn-in, LIV tests, characterization, validation, verification and mass production ‘go’ / ’no go’ testing from early prototyping (with multi-project wafers, MPW) to mass market production. It is required for simple devices such as laser diode chips and VCSELs, all the way up to complex photonics transceivers, compact camera modules (CCM), sensors, and other opto-electronics.
And why ‘From Lab to Fab’? An increasingly important aspect in manufacturing is the current trend singulated chips toward in-line and even full wafer-level approaches. This transition for photonics component manufacturing is much as was the case for the integrated micro-electronics industry in the 1970’s.
Currently, system approaches and materials R&D initiatives still require flexible, automation-capable, multi-functional micro-assembly machines for low-volume testing of device concepts and packaging approaches. However, the growing in-line, and the proposed wafer-level manufacturing and testing schemes for high-volume ‘fab-type’ photonics applications require development of highly-automated assembly and packaging equipment.
Requirements for process automation of optical interconnect technologies
The book discusses developments in optical materials and components (such as single and multi-mode waveguides), circuit boards and ways the technology can be deployed in data centres – Woodhead Publishing 2016.
Chapter 14 “Requirements for process automation of optical interconnect technologies” is written by Ignazio Piacentini (Director of Business Development) and Torsten Vahrenkamp, CEO – ficonTEC Germany.Read chapter
Recent News & Upcoming Events
ficonTEC company news and product developments in the press,
and where to find us at events around the globe