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10 July 2018

IQE’s nano-imprint lithography technology production qualified by DFB laser manufacturer

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK says that its proprietary nano-imprint lithography (NIL) technology has been production qualified by a leading supplier of distributed feedback (DFB) lasers for the telecoms industry, and the first production order for $250,000 has been received. Production commences immediately.

As critical enabling transmission components for high-speed data communications across the whole fiber-optic network (including intercontinental communications, broadband fiber-to-the-home and -premises, and ultra-high-speed transmission links in hyper-scale data-center applications), exponential future demand for DFB lasers in this sector is expected to be driven by 5G connectivity and the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT).

In addition, says IQE, the high optical quality of the DFB device makes it the edge-emitting laser of choice for commoditization in the consumer sector for a wide range of emerging sensing applications such as 3D sensing, environmental emissions and air-quality monitoring, chemical weapons and explosives detection, and disease diagnosis via breath and blood vessel monitoring.

In addition to DFB applications, IQE is also engaged in multiple other qualification programs incorporating its nano-imprint lithography technology across a range of wafer sizes and end applications.

Suited to mass manufacturing of wafers at 100mm, 150mm and 200mm sizes (and even scalable to 300mm), nano-imprint lithography is a powerful technology for the large-scale and low-cost manufacturing of submicron features in a variety of materials, including compound semiconductors, silicon, glass, oxides and flexible materials such as polymers. IQE says that its proprietary technology can achieve the complex patterns typically produced using expensive and slow-throughput electron-beam lithography, but at a much lower cost and much higher throughput. Applications include a multitude of photonics products, including gratings for DFB lasers, micro- and patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) LEDs, diffractive optical elements (DOE), and quasi-photonic crystals. Using NIL technology, cost-effective, high-volume fabrication of complex photonic and quasi-photonic crystals (QPC) can be realised, unlocking unique and powerful photonic performance at a wafer level.

With respect to the new qualification, the DFB laser manufacturer has found that using IQE’s proprietary NIL gratings provides greater precision and dimensional control (which have resulted in higher performance in side-mode suppression ratio (SMSR), a key performance measure of DFB lasers), better pitch and duty-cycle uniformity, and narrower lasing wavelength within the wafer compared with conventional interference holography. All other performance characteristics were similar or better than the conventional holographic production.

“This production qualification marks a significant milestone in the introduction of IQE’s proprietary nano-imprint lithography technology into the mainstream telecoms industry,” believes Dr Rodney Pelzel, VP global technology at IQE. “Coupled with a wide range of new and exciting technologies such as crystalline rare earth oxides (cREO) and quasi-photonic crystals, which are also manufactured using the nano-imprint lithography technology, IQE’s IP portfolio is gaining significant traction, allowing the company to offer new, disruptive technologies to the broad semiconductor marketplace,” he adds.

See related items:

IQE’s subsidiary NanoGaN purchases quasi photonic crystal patents from Luxtaltek, complementing nano-imprint lithography capability


Visit: www.iqep.com

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