Photonics Alignment / Fiber Alignment Systems

Motorized Fiber Positioners and Automated Sub-Systems for Silicon Photonics and Optics Alignment

PI provides a variety of innovative fiber optical alignment products from motorized fiber positioners to high-throughput, automated sub-systems for applications in silicon-photonics, optics manufacturing, telecommunications, data communications, and for packaging-automation. In addition to fiber-based applications, fast steering systems for free-space-optical communication are also available. Products range from motorized 6D micro-motion robotic alignment systems for industrial photonics automation, through ultra-fast piezoelectric scanning & alignment modules to modular devices with manual control for laboratory test setups. All motorized systems come with extensive software for easy setup and integration.

 

White Paper: Automated Fiber Alignment Engines 
Application Note: Double-Sided Fiber Optic Alignment with H-206 Hexapod 
Video: Fast Multi Channel Photonic Alignment Engine for Silicon Photonics 
Article: Automated Silicon Photonics Alignment 

 

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Fast Multi-Channel Alignment Systems, Fully Automated (3 - 12 Axes)

PI’s Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment Engines (FMPA) are based on a highly specialized digital motion controller (E-712) and a hybrid alignment mechanism to achieve the required long travel ranges without sacrificing stability, resolution or alignment speed.

Silicon Photonics (SiP) means photonic devices are now being fabricated alongside microelectronics on silicon wafers. Testing and packaging these requires nanoscale alignments across multiple channels with high throughput. Testing (especially at the wafer level) and packaging economics both demand extraordinary speed and parallelism. SiP is a mission-critical, industry-wide initiative across the semiconductor field, and also the animating energy behind photonics’ resurgence. PI’s FMPA is the fastest, most flexible, most robust solution.

FMPA is implemented in the E-712 controller’s modular firmware to enable fast, simultaneous alignment and tracking of multichannel couplings in multiple degrees of freedom. A broad variety of coarse/fine mechanisms can be used, enabling a spectrum of applications from undiced wafer to final package. Long-travel, closed-loop piezo nanopositioners ensure high throughput and reliable reproducibility. High-precision stage stack or hexapod options accommodate any application up to 6 DOFs per coupling.

Alignment options include a new multidimensional gradient search for aligning and tracking any number of input and output couplings even if they interact. Scanning and modeling functionalities identify global maxima and accurately determine the centroid of quasi-Gaussian, tilted Gaussian, top-hat and tilted top-hat couplings at high speed. Typical alignment modalities complete within a few hundred milliseconds, and time for gradient search alignment and tracking is virtually independent of the number of couplings and degrees-of-freedom. The F-712 high-speed optical power meter is recommended for high-throughput applications.

  • Ultra-fast automatic alignment <0.5s
  • Hybrid design – Motorized stages for long travel, piezo flexure scanners for fast and wear-free motion
  • Complete with mechanics, controllers, and software
  • Integrated scan & alignment routines
  • Closed-loop position control for high accuracy and operational reliability
  • Ultra-fast automatic alignment <0.5s
  • Hybrid design – Motorized stages for long travel, piezo flexure scanners for fast and wear-free motion
  • Complete with mechanics, controllers, and software
  • Integrated scan & alignment routines
  • Closed-loop position control for high accuracy and operational reliability
The F-712.PM1 high speed optical power meter converts optical signals and currents of photodiodes into a high resolution, logarithmic analog voltage signal. Its high bandwidth of 20kHz enables faster optical alignment, when used in conjunction with PI’s high speed FMPA photonics alignment systems. The large wavelength range of 400 to 1550nm allows working in both the visible and infrared range without switching.
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F-712.PM1 High Speed, High Bandwidth Optical Power Meter

  • 20kHz Signal Bandwidth
  • 85nW to 85mW Dynamic Range
  • 400 -1550nm Wavelength
  • 0 - 1mA Input Current
  • Logarithmic Output

Hexapod-Based 6-Axis Alignment Systems, Upright

PI‘s hexapod-based photonics alignment systems provide 6 degrees of freedom motion with nanometer range resolution. The hexapod controller has many built in routines for commands finding first light and optimizing the alignment. A n optional analog input can be used with optical power meters. The user-programmable pivot point is a significan advantage – it can be set to any location, for example the tip of a fiber, the waist of a beam or the surface of an SiP wafer. The F-712 high-speed optical power meter is recommended for high-throughput applications.

H-811 Miniature 6-Axis Alignment System with Controller
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H-811 Automated Miniature 6-Axis Photonics Alignment System, 5kg Load

Very Compact and Robust Stewart Platform Design

  • Integrated scan and alignment routines for single mode fibers, collimators, and I/O chips and optics
  • Extensive software package
  • User-programmable center of rotation (pivot point)
  • Very compact and robust Stewart platform design
  • 5nm actuator resolution
  • Travel ranges XYZ:  ~34mm; θXYZ up to 42deg
  • Velocity to 20mm/sec
  • Parallel kinematics with 6 degrees of freedom for reduced mass and faster Settling
  • No moving cables, reduced friction, higher reliability
The H-206 is a unique, low-inertia 6-axis automated alignment system for fibers and fiber-optical components. Its hexapod-type parallel-kinematics motion engine and a dedicated controller running a variety of user-selectable alignment routines make it superior to conventional 6-axis aligners.
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H-206 6-Axis Automated Photonics Alignment System, 1.5kg Load

Flexure Based Hexapod Design

  • Integrated scan and alignment routines for single mode fibers, collimators and I/O chips, and optics
  • Extensive Software package
  • User-programmable center of rotation (pivot point)
  • Flexure joints for frictionless, wear-free platform motion
  • 33 nanometer actuator resolution
  • Travel ranges XYZ: ~12mm; θXYZ: ~12deg
  • Velocity to 8mm/sec
  • Parallel kinematics with 6 degrees of freedom for reduced mass and faster settling
  • No moving cables, reduced friction, higher reliability

Modular Alignment Engines

Modular alignment engines are based on a combination of linear stages and goniometers for rotation. In the case if the F-131, a Piezo XYZ scanner is mounted on an XYZ motorized stage for long travel. The piezo scanner allows for ultra-fast scanning and alignment, or for mapping the output characteristics of an optical device in fractions of a second. The F-712 high-speed optical power meter is recommended for high-throughput applications.

F-131 is a unique two stage aligner and provides an especially versatile, compact and modular approach to building high-throughput nano-alignment processes. By combining compact precision motorized stages with a fast XYZ nanopositioning stage, both efficient first-light capture and fast nanoscale coupling optimization can be achieved in a cost-effective package of minimum size. F-131's 1nm positioning resolution supports even the smallest emerging silicon photonics feature dimensions. F-131 can be used in any orientation and provides up to 25 mm coarse alignment travel together with 100x100x100µm of fast piezo-driven nanopositioning. A variety of controller options are offered including software and high speed alignmemt algorithms.
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F-131 Compact XYZ Motorized Fiber Alignment System

With Piezoelectric High Speed Photonics Alignment Module

  • Unique 2-stage high-speed aligner (fiber positioner)
  • Closed-loop position control for high accuracy and operational reliability
  • 15mm motorized travel with servo motors with 50 nm resolution
  • 1nm resolution, high speed piezo scanning unit 100x100x100µm for ultra-fast complete device characterization
  • Complete package with software, C-884.4DC motor controller and E-727.AS piezo controller
F-122 Compact 5-Axis Motorized Fiber Positioner / Aligner
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F-122 Compact 5-Axis Motorized Fiber Positioner / Aligner

Precision XYZ Stages and Goniometers

  • Closed-loop position control for high accuracy and operational reliability
  • 25mm XYZ travel,  10° θX, θY
  • 0.1µm linear resolution, 4µrad rotational resolution
  • Safety due to integrated sensor technology
  • Maximum velocity of 20mm/sec and 15°/sec

Add-On Piezo XYZ Scanner Modules

These Piezo XYZ scanners are flexure based for elimination of friction, backlash and wear. They provide nanometer resolution and millisecon responsiveness, ideal for ultra-fast scanning and alignment, or for characterisation of the output profile of an optical device in fractions of a second. The E-727 piezo controller and the F-712 high-speed optical power meter is recommended for high-throughput applications.

P-616 Compact XYZ Piezo Scanner
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P-616 NanoCube® Compact XYZ Piezo Scanner

Parallel Kinematics Design for Higher Performance

  • Closed-loop position control for high accuracy and operational reliability
  • Fastest response with minimized inertia from parallel-kinematic design, flexure guided design
  • 100µm XYZ travel in compact 40x40x40mm envelope
  • <0.2nm resolution/repeatability
  • Wear-free and maintenance-free flexure guiding system, solid state drives, and non-contacting sensors
  • Ideal for fiber positioning, optic alignment and photonics packaging applications, single mode fiber positioning
P-611 NanoCube® XYZ Piezo Nanopositioner
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P-611 NanoCube® Compact XYZ Piezo Scanner

Serial Kinematics Design for Lower Cost

  • Closed-loop position control for high accuracy and operational reliability
  • Lower cost, higher load compared to P-616
  • 100µm XYZ travel
  • 1nm resolution/repeatability
  • Wear-free and maintenance-free flexure guiding system, solid state drivess and non-contacting sensors
  • Ideal for fiber positioning, optic alignment and photonics packaging applications, single mode fiber positioning

Fast Tip/Tilt Platforms for Free-Space Optical Telecommunication

Piezo tip/tilt platforms provide kHz-range bandwidth with nano-radian resolution, ideal prerequisites for fast and precise beam steering appications such as required for free space optical communication (FSOC). FSOC technology can be used to transmit high data-rates based on light propagation without the use of fibers or waveguides, similar to radio wave-based telecommunication. Based on laser light, the beam is extremely focused and needs to be directed to a receiver very precisely, which requires a mechanism to actively steer it to compensate for deviations caused by environmental influences.

S-335 Compact Piezo Tip/Tilt Platform
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S-335 Compact Piezo Tip/Tilt Platform for Free-Space Optical Telecommunication

High-Speed/Long Travel Piezo Flexure Design

  • Optical beam deflection to 70mrad (4°)
  • For mirrors up to 25.4mm (1") diameter
  • Frictionless, maintenance-free high-precision flexure guiding system
  • Parallel kinematics for enhanced dynamics and better multi-axis accuracy
  • Factory installed mirror optional
  • Mars-Rover tested long-life piezo actuators