To better support the growth of the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) market and be able to timely serve the scaling of its customers when moving to engineering and pilot production stages, fabless photonic design provider VLC Photonics (Valencia, Spain) is now one of a growing list of established PIC ecosystem innovators to receive one of ficonTEC’s (Achim, Germany) Wafer-level Test (WLT) systems. The WLT delivered to VLC Photonics incorporates dual alignment of optical pick-ups that can be fast-actively aligned to optical I/O ports at on-wafer PIC devices. The addition of this system to its in-house portfolio of equipment and tools for PIC characterization and testing will complement the services offered up to now on a die level.
VLC Photonics offers varying services that cover all aspects of PIC development, from initial consultancy to design, manufacturing, test, and packaging. For this purpose, the company has grown a global portfolio of customers and additionally partnered with foundries and packagers to serve a broad spectrum of applications in communications, sensing, quantum optics, biophotonics, instrumentation, and other sectors.
Just as for its other services, the new WLT capability can be offered for a comprehensive range of on-wafer component types, irrespective of the material system. This includes integrated photonics-enabled elements and devices based on the silicon-on-insulator (SOI), silicon nitride (SiN), and indium phosphide (InP) material systems, as well as components based on planar lightwave circuits (PLCs). The component size can range from 2 × 2 to 20 × 20 mm2, while the wafer-handling system present in the WLT is compatible with single dies and wafer sizes from 3 to 12 in.
Speaking to where ficonTEC is going with the WLT systems, CEO Torsten Vahrenkamp says the company is continuing to collaborate with leading partners in specific technology areas to provide efficient mixed-signal electro-optical testing and high-volume capability in the near-term.
VLC Photonics received the WLT tool in November 2020 and it is now in production in its UPVfab cleanroom.