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Packaging and assembly services supporting the growing demand for photonics integrated circuits packaging

Country of Origin: Netherlands
Reference Number: TONL20191127001
Publication Date: 27 November 2019

Summary

A Dutch SME is a packaging foundry for photonic integrated circuits (PIC). The SME offers packaging and assembly services for all major PIC platforms and is specialized in hybrid integration of chip-to-chip and fiber-to-chip modules in scalable production volumes. The SME is interested in commercial agreements with technical assistance to Original Equipment Manufacturers and system integrators supporting the growing demand for PIC based modules.

Description

A Dutch SME, established in 2017, is a packaging foundry for photonic integrated circuits (PICs). The SME offers packaging and assembly services for all three major photonic integrated circuit technology platforms (Silicon, Indium Phosphide and Silicon Nitride) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and system integrators supporting the growing demand for PICs packaging.

At this moment the worldwide industrial focus for PICs is moving to the phase of packaging. The building blocks are established and foundries for the production of PICs are focused on production. The next step in the value chain to mature further is the packaging. There are not that many packaging foundries and the costs for the packaging step of the PICs are about 80% of the costs of the PICs.

The Dutch SME is involved in all international projects and pilot lines for packaging of PICs. The SME heavily invested in a state-of-the-art packaging infrastructure supporting all major technology platforms, each having its preferred application area. The company has the ability to combine the advantages of the different platforms by assembling them together using a low loss edge emitting coupling scheme. This unleashes new opportunities for applications which are not available today by using only a single platform.

The SME is specialized in hybrid integration of chip-to-chip and fiber-to-chip modules in a single package and provides a one-stop-shop for PICs, from design to scalable volume production.
Most common application areas are among others: next fifth generation communication (5G), sensors, structural monitoring, medical diagnostics, autonomous driving and ultra-secure cryptography.

The Dutch SME is interested in commercial agreements with technical assistance with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and system integrators needing PICs.
The SME offers the packaging and assembly services.
Although packaging of PICs is one of the final steps in the process, the cooperation with OEMs and system integrators preferably starts already during the design phase. Equipped with extensive PIC packaging knowledge the SME wants to collaborate with the OEMs and system integrators and their chip design team in an early stage to provide feedback on the manufacturability of their ideas and support identifying risks in an early stage. The early involvement also guarantees the product is designed for manufacturing allowing for an easy scale up from prototype to volumes.

Advantages and Innovations

The most important innovations and advantages of the packaging foundry are:
• Packaging and testing of PIC modules based on the 3 main different existing PIC technology platforms (Silicon, Indium Phosphide and Silicon Nitride).
• Assembling of chip-to-chip and fiber-to-chip modules supporting a broad wavelength range from 405 to 4500 nanometer covering the visible and near infrared applications.
• Depending on delivery of wafer or chips, components can be diced and polished in house. Other back end steps include the chip mounting on a sub carrier enabling functional testing, increase the packaging throughput and enhancing the bonding strength for hybrid coupled devices.
• Accurate die bonding solutions with passive or active alignment allow for low loss coupling between optical chips or fiber to chips.
• The use of an automatic wire bonding tool to flexibly connect chips to its surrounding components.
• Packaging solutions to stabilize the temperature on chip using thermos electric coolers (TECs).
• One of the bottlenecks is the affordable manual manufacturing of complex fiber arrays with different fiber core fiber geometry’s and alignment of the polarization maintaining stress rods. The SME has an automated robotic process in house, overcoming this bottleneck allowing high quality and repeatable manufacturing of these photonic components.
• Using all before mentioned competencies and repeating them with multiple chip configurations allow the manufacturing of hybrid integrated photonics chips. It is possible to incorporate a silicon nitride waveguide connected to an Indium Phosphide laser (gain) section and a connection to a fiber array allowing for monitoring and delivering the laser output.
• Due to the experience with single mode visible wavelengths and high intensity optical powers with the need to integrate them with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidics, a variety of side emitting packages has been developed.

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Stage Of Development Comment

Depending on the process step a certain process stability is already achieved. Wire bonding is an industrial scale widely used process with good statistical process control while for visible light integrated photonics the company might assemble the first existing device.

Requested partner

Type of partner:
Industry

Partners:
The desired partner(s) are Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) or system integrators that supply PICs based modules to an application area. Examples of application areas are next fifth generation communication (5G), sensors, structural monitoring, medical diagnostics, autonomous driving and ultra-secure cryptography.

Role of the partner:
The partner is desired to bring in the PIC and packaging specifications and requirements for the application of the PIC based modules.
The Dutch SME offers the packaging and assembly services.

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