Delivery of New Fibre & Micro-Optics Packaging Machine at Tyndall National Institute, supported by OIP4NWE project

Tyndall National Institute - photonics packaging group has become the world’s best-in-class reference for integrated photonic packaging, through the various research projects over the years the photonics packaging team is developing the packaging building blocks to help standardise the packaging process which account up to 60% of the costs of photonic integrated devices.

To this end, Tyndall National Institute photonics packaging group continued to develop its capacity and capabilities and identified a gap in the means of micro-lenses printing. To enhance implementation of the advanced fibre-aligner and flip chip processes, an investment has been made in a state-of-the-art 3D optical polymer printing system with sub-micron resolution. This system will enable OIP4NWE overcome a major technical challenge in packaging PICs which have different optical beam sizes. PICs coming out of device (wafer) fabrication facilities have varied optical beam sizes which are incompatible with standard optical fibres, making the packaging process extremely slow (10s of minutes to complete), prohibitively expensive (optical packaging accounts for the majority of the PIC packaging costs), and results in low coupling efficiency (greater than 50% of optical power is typically lost during the packaging process).

Recent developments in advanced 3D printing systems using optical polymers have enabled the development of high-throughput processing equipment capable of writing PIC optical beam re-shaping or ‘mode-adaptor’ elements which standardise the optical beam size emitted from any PIC. This equipment is suitable for both early-stage prototyping and volume manufacturing, making it ideal for companies, particularly SMEs, to evaluate a specialised packaging design and rapidly transfer an optimised packaging process for this design to manufacturing. Investment in this state-of-the-art equipment gives OIP4NWE a significant competitive advantage to its packaging partners and end-user companies, significantly reducing the cost and process times for advanced fibre optical packaging processes. The return on investment from this equipment will be strategic and immediate, enabling companies to benefit from its unique capabilities within weeks of its installation.

As Tyndall packaging group has been working on the development of standard packaging building blocks, this new equipment will be used to develop new processes to be incorporated into its standards and reduce the costs of integrated photonic packaging.

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