Photonic multi-domain integration trends

Unlike mainly silicon-based electronics, photonic integration is characterized on one hand by a large diversity of material platforms used (Si, SiN, InP, GaAs, polymers) and on the other hand by wavelengths ranging from UV to the far infrared. In view of the difficulties to establish common, standardized platforms, heterogeneous integration continues to be a key element to drive new technologies and scientific advances for the next decade. The combination of heterogeneous functionalities with optical, thermal, electrical, fluidic, mechanical, and high frequency characteristics requires specialized materials and system integration (packaging and assembly) processes and equipment.

There is also a clear differentiation between large volumes of the same design in applications like datacenter transceivers, and low volumes usually with higher added value and a large variety of designs in e.g. aerospace, medical, biosensing and mechanical sensing applications. While the big data market, fueled by social media companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon etc. is mainly challenged to get the production cost down, at lower volumes the cost for development and prototyping becomes critical.

RTOs like CSEM and a few companies are there to help bridging this valley-of-death between inventing and commercializing by providing prototyping services to enable SMEs and established companies alike to start seeding the market. A few cases will be presented where CSEM offers solutions.

One main feature is the quest to find packaging solutions for an increasing exposure of devices to an environment of higher temperature and humidity, which is also subject to corrosive elements across all application areas from automotive to biophotonics, space sensors and actuators. In addition to materials in demand for harsh environments, other common denominators in trend are assembly in micrometer range, thermal management concepts and small footprint packages.

A presentation by Stefan Mohrdiek, Section Head Functional Packaging, CSEM SA.


Question 1: What drives you?
A passion for photonics and microsystems technology and the joy of working in an organization that enables technology transfer to industry

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
To get a view from a research transfer organization on challenges and opportunities in photonic integration.

Question 3: What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Photonic integration technologies, which enable exposure to extreme conditions while being robust against thermal mismatch, will prove essential e.g. for hyped technologies like automotive lidar. And generically, the demand for affordable, compact and hybrid packages with higher added value.
And generically, the demand for affordable, compact and hybrid packages with higher added value.

Question 4: What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
The world will be made a better place 😊

Question 5: What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
The effort for packaging and assembly to fit the targeted application is often underestimated by chip or system designers in terms of complexity. Unfortunately, limited priority is given to design for volume manufacturing (= integration) in early stages of development.
. . . and finding investors with a long breath.

About Stefan Mohrdiek
Stefan is heading the functional packaging activities at CSEM. The main focus is on supervising programs and establishing new research platforms in microelectronics, enabling innovative packaging solutions. He received the master degree in electrical engineering from the Technical University Darmstadt in 1990 and the PhD in Optoelectronics in 1995 from the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg. The PhD was followed by a European fellowship at the Technical University Tampere in Finland in the semiconductor laboratories. Including 15 years in the semiconductor industry and joining CSEM in 2013, he accumulates an overall experience of 30 years in the field of optoelectronics and packaging.

About CSEM
CSEM is a private, non-profit Swiss research and technology organization specialized in micro- and nanotechnology, system engineering, photovoltaics and communications technologies. CSEM’s mission is to deliver advanced technologies and unique R&D services to the industry in a wide range of fields.
As part of these activities, CSEM develops customized solutions for photonics and provides key components, subsystems, and systems that exploit every possible aspect of the spectrum of light and its unique properties.

Stefan Mohrdiek is speaker at the 2021 edition of the Photonic Integration Conference.

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