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Post-Release Deformation and Motion Control of Photonic Waveguide Beams by Tuneable Electrothermal Actuators in Thick SiO2

Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME), Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
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Micromachines 2018, 9(10), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9100496
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract

Photonic packaging, which includes high-precision assembly of photonic sub-systems, is currently a bottleneck in the development of commercially-available integrated photonic products. In the pursuit of a fully-automated, high-precision, and cost-effective photonic alignment scheme for two multi-channel photonic chips, this paper explores different designs of the on-chip electrothermal actuators for positioning mechanically-flexible waveguide structures. The final alignment goal is ∼100 nm waveguide to waveguide. The on-chip actuators, particularly for out-of-plane actuation, are built in a 16 μm-thick SiO 2 photonic-material stack with 5 μm-thick poly-Si as an electrothermal element. A major challenge of out-of-plane positioning is a 6 μm height difference of the waveguides to be aligned, due to different built-up material stacks, together with a misalignment tolerance of 1 μm–2 μm from the pre-assembly (flip-chip) process. Therefore, the bimorph-actuator design needs to compensate this height difference, and provide sufficient motion to align the waveguides. We propose to exploit the post-release deformation of so-called short-loop bimorph actuator designs to meet these joint demands. We explore different design variants based on the heater location and the integration of actuator beams with waveguide beams. The actuator design (with 30 μm poly-Si and 900 μm SiO 2 in length) has ∼8 μm out-of-plane deflection and is able to generate ∼4 μm motion, which meets the design goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: photonic packaging; flip-chip assembly; silicon dioxide; polycrystalline silicon; MEMS; bimorph actuator; electrothermal actuator; multilayer beam; post-release deformation; out-of-plane motion; photonic waveguide alignment photonic packaging; flip-chip assembly; silicon dioxide; polycrystalline silicon; MEMS; bimorph actuator; electrothermal actuator; multilayer beam; post-release deformation; out-of-plane motion; photonic waveguide alignment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wu, K.; Tichem, M. Post-Release Deformation and Motion Control of Photonic Waveguide Beams by Tuneable Electrothermal Actuators in Thick SiO2. Micromachines 2018, 9, 496.

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