Optical Fiber Technology

Automated, high-throughput photonic packaging

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Silicon photonics can enable optical circuits of unprecedented complexity and cost efficiency. It employs lithography to effectively pre-assemble optical devices on wafers fabricated in existing microelectronic facilities with decades of cost and reliability optimization. Unfortunately, the packaging of photonic chips still employs legacy approaches, which limit the device's cost efficiency and scalability. To address this challenge, we have developed a novel approach to photonic packaging centered on shifting complexity from chip-level assembly to wafer-level planar fabrication. Self-alignment structures and large-mode converters are integrated on chip to enable photonic packaging in standard, automated, high-throughput microelectronic assembly tools. We demonstrate solutions to interfacing standard optical fibers to chips and to interfacing photonic chips to other photonic chips. We show wide spectral bandwidth and a peak transmission of −1.3 dB from a standard fiber patch cable to chip and −1.1 dB from chip to chip. We believe this new direction can help silicon photonics reach its full potential.