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Industry Leaders To Develop New PIC Testing Capabilities

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ficonTEC Service and Coherent Solutions have agreed to collaborate in the development of advanced electro-optical measurement capabilities designed to enable automated volume testing of photonic integrated circuits (PICs).



ficonTEC Service GmbH of Achim, Germany, and Coherent Solutions of Auckland, New Zealand, have
announced that the two companies have entered into a collaborative partnership
to advance electro-optical measurement capability for use in volume testing
within the manufacturing cycle of photonic integrated circuits (PICs).


As optical and electrical technologies become more miniaturized, complex,
and increasingly integrated with one another's underlying architecture, the
more inefficient and frustrating it is for process engineers to implement separate
electrical and optical test and qualification procedures, the companies stated
in their press announcement. To avoid this, engineers require fully-automated
systems that can perform complex precision alignment and assembly, as well as
combined electro-optical I/O (input/output) measurements for complex integrated
photonic devices - from singulated dies, through to wafer-level and even up to
fully-packaged devices.


According to Ignazio Piacentini, Business Development Director at
ficonTEC, “Wafer-level testing of PICs differs substantially from that of
conventional semiconductor wafers and requires the integration of three major
ingredients: Firstly, high-accuracy, sub-µm optical positioning with fast-active
alignment capabilities. Secondly, some form of combined electro-optical probe
head, and thirdly, modular high-channel-count instrumentation. ficonTEC and
Coherent Solutions already provide the necessary capabilities for the first and
last ingredients, and together we are actively researching electrical/optical
probe head concepts.”


Coherent Solutions' broad portfolio of photonic test and measurement instruments
includes a line-up of modules for the popular PXI platform that leverage National
Instruments' established LabVIEW graphical programming environment. As ficonTEC's
PCM (ProcessControlMaster) software is also based around LabVIEW, integration
of the two is seamless and enables the creation of sophisticated and fully-automated
test solutions to match individual requirements.


Alternatively, to achieve the same goal within non-LabVIEW and
alternative instrumentation environments, Coherent Solutions additionally offers
the same optical measurement capability in a range of compact, modular benchtop
and IOT-focused test equipment that can be equally well interfaced to
ficonTEC's process control software. Either approach can be flexibly used by
manufacturers to speed up development and production of the latest photonic
integrated circuits and devices.


Andy Stevens, CEO of Coherent Solutions says, “The last 20 years of
investment into technology for optical communications is now spawning new
capabilities and products in new applications and markets, which in turn encourages
further development and innovation. We are fortunate to support this innovation
and are incredibly excited to work with ficonTEC on new automated test and
measurement solutions for manufacturers. Our complementary product platforms
and design philosophies enable rapid customization and deployment and provide a
clear upgrade path as technology advances and products evolve. For customers,
this increases ROI and helps them bring new products to market faster and
cheaper. Together, we will provide customers with unique products and unrivalled
value and support.”


Torsten Vahrenkamp, CEO of ficonTEC Service added, “The collaboration
with Coherent Solutions could not come at a better time, as a number of our
current activities are geared to further improving performance and capability for
our new, next-generation assembly and test systems. By integrating Coherent
Solutions' innovative optical instrumentation and software into our modular
machine architecture and process control software, respectively, we take a
significant step forward in our continued and growing support for integrated
photonics developments worldwide.”


The two companies are initially focusing their sights on manufacturers
of modules and components for telecom and datacom, and on systems for testing
high-density VCSEL systems as used in 3D optical sensing/imaging applications,
such as for automotive LIDAR and for face recognition modules found in
smartphones.


ficonTEC and Coherent Solutions will display the initial results of this
collaboration with a live demonstration of a fully-automated photonics test
system at
NIWeek in Austin, TX/USA, from May 20-23, and again at Laser
World of Photonics
in Munich, Germany, from June 24-27, 2019.





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