Photonic Sensor Fabrication and Packaging with PIX4LIFE and PIXAPP Pilot Lines


Professor Peter O’Brien:

Professor Peter O’Brien is the head of the photonics packaging group at Tyndall, deputy director of the IPIC (the Irish photonic integration centre), director of the PIXAPP packaging pilot line, and an adjunct professor in the college of optical studies, in the university of Arizona. His talk will explain how sensor companies can access custom packaging solutions, by using PIXAPP’s standard building blocks, to ensure fast cycle-times, and open a clear route from prototyping towards low-to-medium volume fabrication.

Dr. Lee Carroll, Tyndall, Ireland:

Dr. Lee Carroll is the technology manager of the PIXAPP pilot line, and previosuly worked as a researcher manager in the photonics packaging group at Tyndall, on cost-modelling, standardization activities, and the development of wafer-level photonic packaging solutions for photonic devices. Lee’s talk will highlight the three key elements of photonic packaging – optical, electrical, and thermal packaging – and describe current state-of-the-art packaging approaches and technologies.


Photonic technologies offer a platform for developing micro-systems for sensors, with highly compact and integrated sensing capabilities. Recent improvements in design software, and fabrication services at European and international foundries, mean that both researchers and SMEs can now access relatively low-cost “photonic chips” for prototyping and evaluation. These lithographically-defined chips offer a high degree of optical functionality for sensing, which can be further enhanced by electronic, micro-fluidic, and even MEMs integration. The extremely small feature size on these photonic chips (typically 10-100µm) allows thousands of sensing chips to be fabricated on a single wafer, with all the associated benefits of wafer-level manufacturing from electronics, i.e. high-reproducibility, low cost-per-device, etc. A key challenge in moving photonic chip sensors from prototyping to manufacturing is their packaging and assembly into robust devices, but, in contrast to the electronics industry, there are currently little-to-no official for packaging in photonics. PIXAPP - the world's first open-access pilot line for the packaging of photonic chips - helps users exploit these breakthrough advantages of photonic chips for sensing, by providing a full range of relevant assembly and packaging technologies. PIXAPP consists of a highly-interdisciplinary team of Europe’s leading industrial & research organisations.