Fast Optical Alignment for Silicon Photonics Production

The convergence of photonics and semiconductors promises a leap in data throughput, parallelism and energy efficiency. Design and materials challenges have been addressed. Practicalities of testing and packaging have not. Test and packaging of silicon photonics elements require nanoscale alignments that cannot be performed using visual or mechanical references. Instead, these optimizations must optimize the optical throughput itself.

In addition, silicon photonic designs often incorporate multiple parallel optical paths with multiple, interacting inputs and outputs, all needing optimization. Simple economics as well as optical realities dictate that these be optimized simultaneously, yet until now there has been no technology capable of doing this.


PI (Physik Instrumente), a company with decades of experience as supplier of precision for the semiconductor industry, has now presented a system that meets the requirements of parallel optical alignment in several degrees of freedom. This is a decisive step forward in mass production of silicon photonics components.

The FMPA (Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment) system is based on a combination of a high-speed piezo scanner, a micropositioning system (XYZ or 6-axis hexapod), and a high-performance controller with firmware-based routines for optical alignment.

PI presented the system for the first time at Photonics West 2015, which undergoes continuous improvement by development teams on both sides of the Atlantic, and is based on the accumulated knowledge of 100 man-years in the field of automatic photonics alignment.

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Brochure: Alignment for Optics and Silicon Photonics

Fast Multi-Channel Photonic System
BRO57E 06/2017
pdf - 8 MB

Brochure: Photonic and Fiber Alignment Engines

Nanoscale Accuracy, Millisecond Responsiveness, Ultra-fast Global Optimization, Real-Time Tracking, 3 to 18 or More Axes
BRO52E 01/2016
pdf - 2 MB

Success Story: Automatic Testing of Photonics Components

Fast, Accurate, and Suitable for Industry
pdf - 572 KB