New opto packages announced at OFC

Meeting Report

ANAHEIM, CALIF. – The Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) in Anaheim in March included announcements of many new packaging technologies and products. Although attendees said that the attendance was noticeably down from last year's OFC, the show floor still felt quite busy.

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Perhaps the most interesting packaging development was a new “clamshell” optoelectronics packaging from Kyo cera. It is similar to a standard butterfly package, but instead of fiber feed-throughs in the wall of the package, the fibers are aligned on top of the lower part of the package, and the lid is designed to seal the fibers in place while it seals the package. This can simplify the packaging process significantly. Ben Velsher, a senior applications engineer at Kyocera and the inventor of the package, told Advanced Packaging that the key parts of the technology are a proprietary method for making the grooves that hold the fibers, and a sealing process that can be licensed from Kyocera.

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Another interesting packaging development was an updated version of the TO-style package introduced by Silicon Bandwidth. A new material set and production approach improves on the performance and cost of the traditional “metal can.” The metal can package has found a new life recently with robustness, hermeticity, and the option for having a lens in the cap making them suitable for many current optoelectronic applications. Silicon Bandwidth, a start-up based in Fremont, Calif., saw an opportunity to improve on the old design, but they have been realistic enough to know that a drastically new package optimized for new applications would face problems in the marketplace. Their approach is to replace “outmoded technology while retaining footprint compatibility.” Thus, the company created essentially the same packages but with significant changes in the material.

Primarily, a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) is used for the package body, replacing the metal. The LCP material is dimensionally stable and can be metallized, so it is a good replacement for the metal. The LCP package costs quite a bit less – a savings of 50 percent or more, according to VP Sunil Kaul – but Kaul also told Advanced Packaging that the savings in the overall manufacturing flow is the real target of the new package. Because they can be produced in strips, much of the assembly can be automated, with real batch processing rather than working with individual metal packages.


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