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New Active Alignment System for the Coupling of Photonic Structures to Fiber Arrays

New Active Alignment System for the Coupling of Photonic Structures to Fiber Arrays

In the packaging and testing of photonic components, the optical alignment must be repeated at multiple process steps and it, therefore, plays a decisive role in production economics. PI's new F-712.HU1 fiber alignment system speeds up this process by typically two orders of magnitude, enabling significant cost savings.

PI (Physik Instrumente) presents the F-712.HU1 alignment microrobot that precisely aligns silicon photonic components or photonic integrated circuits (PICs) with fiber arrays. The system combines the proven H-811 hexapod for large travel ranges with the fast acting P-616 NanoCube® nanopositioner for accuracies in the single-digit nanometer range. In combination, the two subsystems offer nine degrees of freedom for motion purposes and enable the coupling of fibers and arrays to PICs and SiP structures. The high dynamics and wear-free working principle of the NanoCube also allows continuous tracking for dynamic compensation of drift effects during coupling or curing of adhesives.

The inherent parallel-kinematic design of the hexapod provides high system stiffness in all its six degrees of freedom. The brushless DC motors in the struts of the hexapod allow for travel ranges from ± 17 mm or tilting of up to ± 21°. The pivot point can be freely defined by using software, allowing rotations about an optical axis, focal point, beam waist or other desirable position.

The P-616 NanoCube, which also has a parallel-kinematic design, offers travel ranges of up to 100 µm in X, Y, and Z direction with a bidirectional repeatability of below 15 nm. Flexure guides and all-ceramic PICMA® actuators guarantee a long lifetime.


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