MEPTEC optoelectronics update



SUNNYVALE, CALIF. – MEPTEC held its second optoelectronics symposium in April. The symposium, entitled “The Opto-Mystic Industry,” had a smaller crowd than last year's standing-room-only event.

Symposium chair Nicholas Leonardi described the current view as “cautiously optimistic,” based on well-attended Photonics West and OFC conferences this year, with many companies exhibiting new products. Dr. Dan Nelson (JDS Uniphase) and Peter Farmer (Strategies Unlimited) gave updates on the optoelectronic market and trends.

Vern Stygar (Ferro Corp.) presented the case for using high- and low-temperature co-fired ceramics. He described work by the Ceramic Interconnect Initiative (CII) to advance this industry. Ceramic materials have a flat frequency response up to at least 100 GHz, and are superior in many properties compared to organic substrate materials. The cost gap between ceramics and organics is narrowing, as well. Because the performance of organic materials degrades considerably at high frequency, it is expected that ceramic substrates will be used exclusively in OC-768 applications, a class of fiber optic carriers requiring operation at 40 GHz.

Hermetic packaging is used in many optoelectronic applications, and Ben Velsher (Kyocera) gave an update on a new hermetic package that can meet demands for attaching bundles of fibers in a single package. In a traditional metal hermetic package, individual fibers are fed through a pipe, but this process is likely to damage a large fiber bundle, and alignment inside the package is very difficult. Kyocera's new package splits the cylindrical pipe in two so that the fiber is inserted and aligned in an open cavity, and then the fiber and package are hermetically sealed at the same time when the lid is attached.

Hermetic packaging is not the only answer, however, as Dr. Leo Higgins (Siemens) showed in his talk on non-hermetic organic packaging for long haul applications. Higgins described opportunities for polymers in package housings and leadframe assemblies, using commercially available materials that meet current NASA and European outgassing standards. Polymer adhesives can also be used instead of solders to attach passive components.

One session was devoted to testing of optoelectronic devices. Tim Huebner (Newport Corp.) discussed burn-in and testing of semiconductor lasers. He said it is important to consider the purpose of testing and what will be done with test results before subjecting devices to a barrage of tests and potentially wasting time and money.

Trends in optoelectronic testing include a move toward automation. Mike Resso (Agilent) discussed auto mation of testing, distinguishing between fully automated systems and those that merely automate feeding of parts into the tester.

Conference participants were asked to come up with topics for next year's optoelectronics summit, resulting in interesting lunchtime discussion and several good suggestions. More specific information on standards was requested with the hope that significant work in this area will occur during the coming year. Participants were also interested in low-cost packaging, assembly and automation , and a forecasting methodology for new technology.


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