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Technical Insight

Magazine Feature
This article was originally featured in the edition:
Issue 4 2022

Improving optical coupling for hybrid photonic packaging

News

Nanoscribe’s 3D Microfabrication is a key enabling technology for the optical coupling and packaging of photonic components in hybrid integration to enable the penetration of photonic integrated circuits (PIC) in industrial high-volume manufacturing.

BY JÖRG SMOLENSKI AND SOFÍA RODRÍGUEZ, NANOSCRIBE

Photonic data processing and photonic quantum computing have a great potential to exploit the concept of computing at the speed of light. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) applications demand high computing power and storage capacity. But electronic technologies currently struggle with the processing power needed in AI. New methods are under investigation by moving away from electronic towards photonic approaches for ultrafast information processing. Moreover, photonic integrated circuits extend also to application fields such as frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR, wearables, or medical and environmental sensors or data and telecom applications.

The challenge of hybrid integration in photonic packaging
Photonic packaging means integrating photonic integrated circuits (PIC) with a wide range of active and passive optical components into a compact module but with the key challenge to couple the light between each of them. The buildup is not monolithic as in electronics packaging but rather heterogenous with active alignment of the different components to each other. Next to the PIC itself, these components include lasers, photodiodes, waveguides, optical sensors, fibers and other optical modules. To integrate the different components, photonic packaging requires specialized microoptical structures as highly efficient optical coupling elements. These elements can couple light between various optical components and platforms, facilitating hybrid integration.