Projects & Initiatives
How and where does ficonTEC contribute
to the photonics assembly and testing development scene?
As part of the on-going development of our technology base, and also as part of our contribution into the development of the sector, ficonTEC is pleased to have previously been, and be currently actively involved and associated with numerous national and international projects and initiatives.
For the activities and interactions listed below – and so too for any developments necessary for specific customer requirements – ficonTEC relies on its dedicated R&D Center, located close to ficonTEC HQ. Manned by highly-qualified, mostly Ph.D.-level (over 70%), but also highly-experienced personnel, the team is central to ficonTEC’s regular and respected contributions to the assembly and testing development scene. The R&D Center is equipped with a variety of specialized assembly machines, a 3D printing system, die testing machines, wire bonders, cross-section capabilities, a die shear tester, etc., and has achieved several significant milestones in photonics micro-assembly.
A national PIC manufacturing infrastructure,
widely accessible and inherently flexible
AIM Photonics (American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics) is an industry-driven public-private partnership that focuses the US’s premiere capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in photonics.
The Institute’s goal is to emulate the dramatic successes experienced by the electronics industry over the past 40 years and to transition key lessons, processes, and approaches to the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) industry. In doing so, AIM Photonics aims to support SMEs, providing practical access and technology on-ramps for US industry, government, and academic communities.
ficonTEC is closely following this initiative and ficonTEC US has already been selected among a list of suppliers. Our first contribution comes through the award of a contract for a new wafer-level automated tester, working in close cooperation with UoC (University of Columbia), SUNY (State University of New York), and RTI (Rochester Technical Institute).
The world’s first open-access
Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) Assembly and Packaging Pilot line
Consisting of a highly-interdisciplinary team of Europe’s leading industrial & research organizations, PIXAPP’s goal is to is help exploit the breakthrough advantages of PIC technologies by providing users with single-point access to PIC assembly and packaging.
In avoiding what is probably the most significant bottleneck in developing competitive photonic devices, the challenge is to create accepted design rules and standards for photonics packaging, including automatization of the processes and of mass-scale testing, so as to reduce the overall cost of PIC-based products.
The PIXAPP initiative covers five main aspects: design, materials, devices, applications, and equipment. ficonTEC’s role within the project is to target improvements and innovations of existing and future photonics assembly and testing equipment.
PIXAPP is a Horizon2020 ICT 2016 funded project and is scheduled to run until the end of 2020.
Fully-automated, high-precision, cost-effective assembly
for next-generation hybrid photonics
Current assembly and packaging technology for PICs leads to custom-engineered solutions. The result is that packaging is at least an order of magnitude more expensive than the photonic chips themselves, and this represents a major bottle-neck to market penetration.
PHASTFlex proposes an innovative solution, in which InP PICs with active optical functions are actively aligned with passive, free-etched dielectric waveguide TriPleX™ PICs bonded onto an LTCC (ceramic) carrier, allowing a fine alignment of the waveguides in two lateral and one rotational axes. ficonTEC has developed a unique assembly machine in which the coarse alignment of the chips on a common substrate as well as the active fine alignment of the waveguides could be performed in an automated assembly process.
The project aims to develop a complete assembly process and the required tooling to implement this concept, including pre-assembly using eutectic bonding and automated handling, with on-chip micro-fabricated fine-alignment and fixing functions.
PHASTFLex is an FP7 funded STREP. It started on January 1, 2014 and was originally scheduled to run for 36, later 44 months.
Laser-assisted low-stress Reflow Bonding of opto-electronic Components
LaReBo is an investigation of a laser-assisted reflow bonding process for photonic components. The aim is to increase accuracy and component density, thus enabling smaller package sizes and so address novel products and new markets. The enabling technology is transmission laser-soldering with an absorption of laser radiation localized to the bond zone. Process knowledge will be generated for automated bonding complete with an integrated process chain from component to package, and destined for economic, high-throughput and high-yield manufacturing.
ficonTEC’s role within the project is to provide an appropriate bonding machine equipped a laser-assisted soldering module.
LaReBo is a Horizon2020 eurostars project and is scheduled to run until late 2018.
Automated assembly and bonding technology for
micro-optics and butterfly modules
The AutoFly project was initiated for the development of a fully-automated, high-volume-capable process flow for the production of photonic devices. Core activities included development of innovative and automation-capable optical system approaches and concepts that additionally support the transition from manual to automated production. These approaches should be easily transformable into corresponding, fully automated assembly and attach technologies.
The project produced an automatically packaged 808nm laser module. The package can be hermetically sealed for application in harsh conditions. The high-precision mounting of a double-sided single lens with an innovative optical pick-&-place module was fully automated, with active alignment used to achieve a highly collimated and aligned free beam. This makes the system particularly suitable for sensor and interferometer applications.