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Photonics involves generating and harnessing light and other radiant energy that has the photon as the quantum unit. This includes lasers, optics, fiber-optics, electro-optical sensors, and other devices used to collect, analyze, and transmit data at very high rates of speed.

Photonics generates, detects, and manipulates light through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, amplification, switching, and sensing.

No wonder photonics is one of the most rapidly developing technologies for a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, health care, telecommunications, energy, and more.

And yet most people have never heard of photonics.

One of the photonic technologies with huge potential is photonic integration. 50 years ago was the start of the semiconductor era and more specific, the technology for integrated circuits.

​This has led to the tremendous growth of applications and has given us the mobile phones and PCs. A similar growth can be expected for photonic integrated circuits especially when the electronics hits the power limitations for transferring data at ever growing data rates.

VTEC Lasers and Sensors is specialised in testing of photonic applications and in photonic packaging. Thanks to our vast experience in developing customized solutions for many different industries, our teams of design and implementation experts can create the optimized, cost-effective solutions your business needs.

Photonics Integrated Circuits

The generic approach to photonic integration is relatively young, with first attempts to realize it made in 2002. It received a boost thanks to several national and international projects in Europe. Collaboration of partners from different levels—including foundries, designers, software companies, end users from industry—facilitated development of the complete supply chain in a coherent way including library formats and, to some extent, data exchange between these parties.

By now, the generic approach in photonics has reached (semi)commercial level, with several brokers offering MPW runs from different foundries in different material systems (mainly Indium Phosphide and Silicon) and technology platforms.

Credits: image by JePPIX

The set of available Basic Building Blocks (BBB) can consist of an optical amplifier (SOA), phase modulator, polarization converter, and passive waveguide devices. Each of them is responsible for manipulation of a particular property of light: the SOA for amplitude, the phase modulator for phase and waveguides are used to route optical signals between different components. As a very important extension to the library of the mentioned BBBs, there are numerous building blocks of higher complexity. They include passive structures implementing advanced functionality: power splitting by multi-mode interference devices, n-chip reflectors, wavelength demultiplexing, devices (AWG). The active building blocks such as PIN photodetectors, modulators based on Mach–Zehnder interferometers, and even complete lasers are nowadays becoming a part of the component library. The circuit-level simulation software incorporate the description of the building blocks and are mature tools that can be used by circuit designers. The layout tools are also present on the market . Besides geometrical properties of the building blocks, they include automated design rule checks and mask assembly routines.

Photonics packaging

Packaging is of utmost concern with regard to achievable module performance and eventual costs. In integrated photonics, packaging still has to overcome major challenges related to integration itself, such as large electrical and optical i/o count, high-performance RF packaging, or power dissipation. Packaging and assembly technologies are fundamental to making available and practically usable the results of advanced photonic research. At present, advanced packaging technologies are not easily available to most users. The first problem is to realize the packaging and testing of first samples as prototypes and testable components.

Photonics applications

Optoelectronic solutions offered by VTEC Lasers and Sensors have a wide array of applications for a variety of industries, including optical interconnects, DFBs and SOAs, modulators, photodetectors, TOSA/ROSAs, and more. Next to the development of Building Blocks for the Photonic Integrated circuits VTEC also offers a service to develop photonic products for 3rd parties.

We also can create, in house, optoelectronic photonic packaging systems that offer highly accurate placement of components to ensure alignment and coupling of light into and out of devices to meet the various testing requirements for these photonic products.

Then there’s laser diode packaging for volume manufacturing capabilities. This typically involves developing a prototype that can be implemented and tested before being reproduced on a larger scale to support client objectives. For the high volume packaging we work with partners.

Our extensive knowledge, our enthusiastic and open-minded approach, our worldwide network of quality suppliers and our ability to connect knowledge and means fast give our customers the perfect starting point for a custom-made solution.

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