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Micro- and nanophotonics

Competence

VTT develops state-of-the-art micro- and nanophotonic technologies for a wide variety of applications, such as telecom, datacom, consumer electronics, lab-on-chip and sensing applications. Silicon photonics, polymer optics and fiber optics are our main technology platforms. Micro and nanoprocessing is combined with heterogeneous integration and advanced packaging concepts to combine the technologies mastered by VTT, our customers and our collaborators.

VTT's expertise covers the entire R&D path from the design, modeling and simulation to the fabrication, integration, packaging and testing of the optical components and modules. This is based on experienced staff, versatile design and simulation tools, two clean room processing facilities, advanced integration and packaging tools, and well-equipped measurement laboratories.

Challenges

Success in the commercialisation of micro- and nanophotonic technologies is typically based on improved performance, rather than on lower cost. For example, fiber optics can provide higher bandwidth and optical sensors more sensitivity than corresponding electrical solutions. But when photonic solutions come closer to end users the pressure for low-cost technology increases. This happens when the optics is introduced in e.g. short-range communication, consumer electronics and point-of-care diagnostics. Power consumptio in ICT infrastructure is also increasing rapidly, and photonics is seen as an attractive solution to this global challenge. Our challenge is to find those applications, technologies and technology combinations that meet the market requirements with respect to both performance and cost.

Solutions

Nanoimprint, e-beam, stepper, near-field holographic and contact lithographies for micro and nanopatterning

Refractive and diffractive optics by wafer-level and roll-to-roll patterning

Generic platforms for single/multimode photonic integrated circuits (PICs)
- Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) waveguides
- Polymer waveguides on silicon, glass and polymer.

Heterogeneous/hybrid integration and packaging
- Ceramic optoelectronic packages; system-on-package
- Wafer-level packaging on silicon
- Sheet-level and roll-to-roll manufacturing for low-cost mass production
- Precision flip chip bonding of optoelectronic chips on silicon, ceramic and polymer substrates
- Electrical connections: RF lines, wire bonding, vias, etc.
- Fiber pigtailing, hermetic sealing and thermal management.

Application examples:
- Transmitter and receiver modules for fiber and waveguide-based optical links
- Optical splitting, switching, modulation, and wavelength (de)multiplexing
- High power LED packaging and LED output beam steering
- Biosensors
- Medical imaging.

Benefits

Optimised combination of monolithic and hybrid integration provides
- Simple and generic design
- High performance with high yield
- Small footprint and low power consumption with low cost
- Rapid fabrication of prototypes and proof-of-concept demonstrators

Successful R&D can be exploited via small/medium-scale production in VTT's quality-certified facilities, and fluently transferred to mass production, e.g. via VTT Memsfab.

References and merits

Point-to-point fiber optic links, generic silicon photonics technology, fast optical switching systems and optoelectronic ADC/DAC modules have been developed for the European Space Agency in several past and ongoing projects, many of them being coordinated by VTT. VTT is also involved in several related EU projects, in some of which as a coordinator.


Additional information

Pentti Karioja
Research Professor
+358 20 722 2245

Timo Aalto
Principal Scientist
+358 20 722 6694