Fast Optical Alignment for SiP Production

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Industry-leading speed and capability is an enabler for “photonomics” from wafer to packaged device;  2016 R&D 100 award winner!

Problem

The convergence of photonics and semiconductors promises a leap in data throughput, parallelism and energy efficiency. Design and materials challenges have by now been addressed. Practicalities of testing and packaging have not.

PI’s solution to fast SiP alignment automation leverages fab-proven controls and mechanisms as shown in configuration for planar test.
PI’s solution to fast SiP alignment automation leverages fab-proven controls and mechanisms as shown in configuration for planar test.

Test and packaging of silicon photonics elements require nanoscale alignments that cannot be performed using visual or mechanical references. Instead, these optimizations must optimize the optical throughput itself. In addition, SiP designs often incorporate multiple parallel optical paths with multiple, interacting inputs and outputs, all needing optimization. Simple economics as well as optical realities dictate that these be optimized simultaneously, yet until now there has been no technology capable of doing this.

Watch video >
Watch video >

Solution

Physik Instrumente (PI) has been the global leader in ultraprecision motion control for semiconductor manufacturing for more than three decades.

Now PI has addressed the need for fast, parallel, nanoscale-accurate, multi-DOF global optical alignment optimization required in key SiP production steps from planar test to packaging.

Fast sinusoidal raster scan showing departure from classical Gaussian coupling cross-section. Messy profiles of this sort cannot be reliably optimized with traditional alignment algorithms.
Fast sinusoidal raster scan showing departure from classical Gaussian coupling cross-section. Messy profiles of this sort cannot be reliably optimized with traditional alignment algorithms.

 

Top-hat coupling, typical of detector alignment and DMD testing. The FMPA controller can automatically determine the position of the centroid. Top-hat couplings could not be aligned by any integrated alignment technology prior to FMPA.
Top-hat coupling, typical of detector alignment and DMD testing. The FMPA controller can automatically determine the position of the centroid. Top-hat couplings could not be aligned by any integrated alignment technology prior to FMPA.

In acknowledgment of this achievement’s importance, the system has been named a 2016 R&D 100 award winner, as one of the 100 most technologically significant products of the year in the Analytical/Test category and a finalist for a 2016 Photonics PRISM award – “The Oscars of Photonics”.

This enabling solution integrates PI’s high-throughput piezo nanopositioning technologies and ultraprecision motion control with novel algorithms. The groundbreaking technology was developed by PI’s team that comprises more than a century of photonics alignment automation experience and includes foundational participants in the field. The system is part of PI’s broad offering of photonics alignment engines ranging from software-driven stage solutions to integrated 6-DOF hexapods with built-in alignment functionality.

Video: PI’s Modular toolkit allows unparalleled functionality as shown in 6DOF double-sided planar test>
Video: PI’s Modular toolkit allows unparalleled functionality as shown in 6DOF double-sided planar test>

 

Unedited screen-capture of user interactions with the system.
Unedited screen-capture of user interactions with the system.

In the video above, first, full-field (100×100 micron) profiling achieves first light—fast. This example application then allows the user to severely de-align the couplings by dragging the mouse, and then recover them in an instant. Finally, a global optimization is achieved by simultaneous gradient searches.

Fig3_28_V1

 

Watch "Silicon Photonics Alignment" Video
Watch “Silicon Photonics Alignment” Video

This video (above) shows PI’s new FMPA F-712 system. In this demo, an in-wafer, grating-coupled waveguide device is simulated by a short length of single-mode fiber. Its input and output are coupled via lensed fibers mounted on grippers on PI’s Nanocube XYZ piezo positioner / scanner, which is controlled by the F-712’s controller.

The FMPA system won an award at the R&D 100 Conference, Nov. 2-4, 2016, as one of the 100 most technologically significant products of the year in Analytical/Test.
The FMPA system won an award at the R&D 100 Conference, Nov. 2-4, 2016, as one of the 100 most technologically significant products of the year in Analytical/Test.

 

Additional reading:

> LEARN more

> Fiber Alignment Components & Systems overview

> WATCH Photonic Alignment videos

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About PI

PI (Physik Instrumente) is a leading manufacturer of precision motion control equipment, piezo motors, air bearing stages and hexapod parallel-kinematics for semiconductor applications, photonics, bio-nano-technology and medical engineering. PI has been developing and manufacturing standard & custom precision products with piezoceramic and electromagnetic drives for 4 decades. The company has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for OEM and research. PI is present worldwide with fifteen subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents and total staff of more than 1,000.

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