November 26, 2020
CustomLine CL1500 to support integrated photonics eco-system development at ORC, Tampere University
The latest update to our cooperation with the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at Tampere University (TAU) going back some 15 years, is the delivery of a CustomLine CL1500 for active assembly tasks involving fibers or lenses. CustomLine systems are ficonTEC’s most adaptable and versatile multi-purpose micro-assembly machines, providing fully automated align-&-attach for integrating optoelectronic and photonic devices. This product line sees exceptionally diverse usage within R&D, process development, and manufacturing.
The ORC expertise, centered on the molecular beam epitaxy of III-V optoelectronic devices, forms an important part of the photonics technology eco-system in Northern Europe. The addition of the CL1500 extends the current capability for automated mounting of optoelectronic devices to coupling with optical fibers and micro-optics. The acquisition is seen as a timely and strategic positioning aimed at increasing the ability to develop applications-ready integrated photonic devices and sub-systems. Ultimately, it will enable a stronger engagement with high-impact applications, which require a higher level of functionality and integration schemes ensuring miniaturization and cost-effectiveness of the photonics-driven solutions. This technology expansion is also an answer to the rapid growth of the R&D needs in Finland, driven by a dynamic and rapidly growing photonics eco-system, with Tampere area playing a leading role. Photonics at Tampere University has a long history of proven success in academic and industrial engagements and has been profiled as a strategic development area for research and education. Moreover, TAU is also coordinating the Flagship for Photonics Research and Innovation (PREIN) the leading national eco-system project in photonics funded by the Academy of Finland with the rationale to unite key photonics expertise and capabilities under a common platform to support interactions and synergies with external actors.
CustomLine lens alignment
CustomLine fiber alignment
Prof. Mircea Guina, Head of the ORC commented, “Access to the CL1500, combined with existing technology expertise, will enable us to keep-up with the major development trends of emerging photonics technologies at European level, in particular aiming at achieving a higher level of complexity through integration of various optical functions into compact sub-systems. These are instrumental in tackling major societal problems by providing advanced photonics solutions for sensing of pollutants, medical diagnosis, or reducing the energy consumption of data centers, just to name a few of the major applications fields targeted by our research projects involving European and national partners.”
When it comes to European level cooperation, it should be noted that TAU and ficonTEC are also partners in the iQonic Consortium, funded by the EU’s H2020 Research & Innovation Program, which targets the development of automated manufacturing tools for photonics. As a next development step, the ORC is actively seeking new research project opportunities, in particular those requiring even more complex integration with silicon photonics and complementary technologies. In this respect, Prof. Guina notes that the availability of the CL1500 tool and testing its functionality for integrated novel optoelectronic component assembly will provide an important metric to the in iQonic project and help in identifying the need for further advancement of research tasks linked to assembly processes for integrated photonics.