Paul van Gerven
22 November

The Photonic Integration Technology Center (PITC) has launched the Metrology program, aimed at developing design-for-test methodologies, and new product characterization and test automation tools. By improving the accuracy, reliability, throughput and cost-efficiency of testing processes, the development cycle of integrated photonics will shorten, thus reducing an important barrier to the technology’s adoption.

“There’s an urgent need to improve the scalability of the currently available test solutions, to facilitate an efficient process from the prototyping to the pilot phase and to production in small batches and ultimately large volumes,” comments Sylwester Latkowski, scientific director of PITC. “Our ambition is to reduce product development cycles by three months through enabling ‘right first time’ design, thus preventing unnecessary and costly design iterations.”

Smart Photonics
A Smart Photonics engineer holding integrated-photonics wafers. Credit: Bart van Overbeeke/Photondelta

“New test tools will help to drastically increase testing throughput. Depending on the complexity of the photonic product to be tested, the throughput on average has to accelerate from minutes to seconds per device. If this proves to be out of reach, then massively parallel testing procedures can serve as an alternative. Overall, we’re striving for a throughput increase by a factor of ten. Production flow data analysis can also contribute to this.”

The Metrology program brings together chip designer Bright Photonics, InP foundry Smart Photonics, photonic product suppliers Vtec and Photonfirst, and automated test equipment manufacturers Salland Engineering, Ficontec and Apex Technologies. The program has a multiyear outlook and a launching budget of around five million euros, provided by Photondelta and the participating companies on an equal basis. Companies not yet participating are welcome to join.