Wafer-scale boost for optical photonics

Wafer-scale boost for optical photonics

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Belgian research lab imec has been working with Sivers Photonics (formerly CST Global) in the UK and ASM Amicra Microtechnologies to integrate indium-phosphide (InP) distributed feedback (DFB) lasers on the silicon wafers.

The team placed the lasers from the Sivers InP100 platform onto imec’s silicon photonics platform (iSiPP) using ASM Amicra’s Nano flip-chip bonder tool. The InP DFB laser diodes were bonded onto a 300mm silicon photonics wafer with an alignment precision within 500nm, enabling reproducible coupling of more than 10mW of laser power into the silicon nitride waveguides on the silicon photonics wafer.

Many silicon photonic systems still use discrete light sources made of III-V semiconductors such as indium-phosphide (InP) or gallium-arsenide (GaAs). However these devices have higher coupling losses, a large physical footprint and a high packaging cost.

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This system uses C-band InP DFB lasers that have been passively aligned and then flip-chip bonded onto 300mm silicon photonics wafers. During the second half of 2021, the hybrid integration portfolio will be extended with reflective semiconductor optical amplifiers (RSOA), using the etched-facet capability of Sivers’ InP100 technology, and ASM Amicra’s bonding alignment tool. This capability will enable advanced, external cavity laser source types, as required for emerging optical interconnect and sensing applications, and will become available in early 2022.

“This additional functionality will enable our joint customers to develop and prototype advanced photonic integrated circuits (PICs) with capabilities well beyond what we can offer today, in key areas such as datacom, telecom and sensing,” said Joris van Campenhout, Optical I/O Program Director at imec.

WThe availability of InP laser sources, designed and fabricated on our InP100 manufacturing platform, will boost the adoption of silicon photonic circuits for a wide variety of commercial applications,” said Billy McLaughlin, managing director at Sivers Photonics.

imec plans to offer this technology later in 2021 as a prototyping service, This would accelerate the use of silicon photonics in applications from optical interconnects and integrated LiDAR sensors to biomedical sensing. 

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