ficonTEC is a recognized market leader for automated photonics assembly and testing systems for high-end opto-electronic components and PICs (photonics integrated circuits). Considerable process capability and dedicated assembly technologies have been accumulated in serving the needs of a broad selection of industry segments – including telecom and datacom, high-power diode laser assembly, sensing from bio-med to automotive, micro-optics, and more.
ficonTEC has consistently retained a unique modular approach to production equipment design. Today, with a globally installed base totaling around 700 machines, each one is the automated and optimized embodiment of a customer-defined process.
True to our ‘Photonics from Lab to Fab’ maxim, ficonTEC’s flexible and scalable automation options enable customized assembly and testing solutions suitable for early device development, for new product introduction (NPI), and all the way up to high-volume production facilities – regardless of whether for contract manufacturing or for in-house corporate R&D and production.
Since starting in 2001, and now with around 700 systems in the field, ficonTEC has become the market leader when it comes to individually customized solutions for automated micro-assembly and testing of photonics-based components, micro-optic assemblies and opto-electronic devices.
Our machines employ established and industry-recognized assembly technologies – micro-positioning, active/passive precision alignment, attachment via welding, soldering and/or bonding, and optical inspection. ficonTEC also provides a suite of test capabilities for individual components and assembled hybrid opto-electronic devices. Moreover, with everything being orchestrated by our flexible process control software, the product platforms described below become so much more than just the sum of their parts.
High-precision, fast-active alignment stand-alone and in-line assembly solutions designed for automated production of photonic devices. They uniquely combine active alignment capabilities and flexible attachment configurations with a tried and tested software control interface, all in an industry-proven design. Optional modules provide additional features (multi-functionality), with the high-end models providing automatic tool changing, beam testing capability and wafer processing.
Precision die bonder cells focused on passive high-resolution chip/die positioning coupled with thermal attachment, with accuracies down to the sub-micron range. Feature-rich functional modules provide thermal management, multiple bond force modes and eutectic/epoxy/soldering attachment capability. Intended for chip-on-submount (CoS), MEMS/MOEMS and sensor assembly, as well as for other optical components, including laser diodes, hybrid assemblies on silicon photonics and other devices.
Automated test systems for full LIV testing, spectral and beam characterization of single laser chips, VCSELs, unmounted laser diode bars, and chip-on-submount (CoS) sources. TestLine systems are compatible with PXI-based optical instrumentation modules that leverage National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphical programming environment. High-end models can be equipped with an optional wafer table for wafer-level testing tasks.
Tyndall National Institute and ficonTEC Service, along with other industry partners including Eblana Photonics, Faz Technology, mBryonics and Sanmina, have come together to build the National Photonics Manufacturing Pilot Line, an integrated photonics manufacturing ecosystem located within a single state-of-the-art facility and designed to advance disruptive photonic technologies from concept to commercialisation.
The National Photonics Manufacturing Pilot Line, located in Tyndall, with an initial investment of €6m and a team of 15, will engage with sectors such as MedTech, Life Sciences and Communications. Tyndall is already the location of the PIXAPP Pilot Line Gateway and the Irish Photonics Integration Centre, which collectively represents over 160 photonics researchers and provides access to leading-edge technology, highly-skilled trainees and valuable infrastructure.
An additional goal of the National Pilot Line will be to train the future photonics workforce in advanced manufacturing processes, with particular focus on MedTech. Ireland is home to one of the world’s leading clusters for medical device development and production, and with 29,000 employees and €12.6bn in exports.
ficonTEC Service GmbH of Achim, Germany, and Coherent Solutions Ltd. of Auckland, New Zealand, have entered into a collaborative partnership to advance electro-optical measurement capability for use in volume testing within the manufacturing cycle of integrated photonic devices (PICs).
In order to avoid separate electrical and optical test and qualification procedures, engineers require fully-automated systems that can perform complex precision alignment and assembly, as well as combined electro-optical I/O measurements for complex integrated photonic devices – from singulated dies, through to wafer-level and even up to fully-packaged devices.
Wafer-level testing of PICs differs substantially from that of conventional semiconductor wafers and requires the integration of three major ingredients: Firstly, high-accuracy, sub–µm optical positioning with fast-active alignment capabilities. Secondly, some form of combined electro-optical probe head, and thirdly, modular high-channel-count instrumentation. ficonTEC and Coherent Solutions already provide the necessary capabilities for the first and last ingredients, and together they are actively researching electrical/optical probe head concepts.
Coherent Solutions’ broad portfolio of photonic test and measurement instruments includes a line-up of modules for the popular PXI platform that leverage National Instruments’ established LabVIEW graphical programming environment. As ficonTEC’s process software is also based around LabVIEW, integration of the two is seamless and enables the creation of sophisticated and fully-automated test solutions to match individual requirements.