The semiconductor industry is at the gateway of a technology shift in the form of silicon photonics (SiPh), which holds the potential for spectacular gains in speed, power efficiency and density. The first wave of the SiPh revolution stands poised to roll over data centers around the world with optical interconnects that breach the barriers set by copper wire. End user benefits might include an HD movie or 100 hours of music downloaded in a single second. Bandwidths of a terabit per second now come within practical reach.

Typically, SiPh includes on-chip I/O devices in the form of etched diffraction gratings, which route the light from off-chip optical fibers to waveguides within the chip, where operations such as filtering and conversion to digital data streams are performed.

This addition of optical I/O, along with electrical, adds an entirely new dimension to wafer test methodologies. The need to capture and insert modulated beams of light requires the development of novel probing strategies that accommodate a new set of mechanical requirements. The classic problem of maintaining accurate physical probe contact with pads on the wafer surface gives way to a new paradigm when optical fibers must be precisely aligned to couple light in and out of a wafer without physical contact.

FormFactor understands the critical importance of refining and perfecting SiPh probe technology. The research at this phase of development will ultimately provide the foundation for wafer-level production test. And as SiPh technologies expand beyond the data center into a growing number of new applications, the costs associated with testing millions of devices will become a critical factor in realizing the full economic potential of SiPh.

FormFactor takes a holistic view toward developing successful approaches to SiPh wafer test devices. We have forged partnerships with other key suppliers of test technology that play on each contributor’s individual strengths. 

Join us at Photonics West, February 1-6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. We’ll be co-exhibiting with ACS Motion Control and PI (Physik Intrumente) at Booth 4857.

Photonics West is the premier event for the photonics and laser communities. Each year more than 22,000 people attend the event, and come to hear cutting-edge research, find the latest products and services, and network with thousands of other like-minded individuals.

We hope to see you there!