The assignee for this patent application is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to the manufacturing of optical subassemblies and modules.
"For the manufacturing of optical subassemblies and modules, which comprise standard VCSELs (vertical cavity surface emitting laser) and Photodiodes, one of the main challenges is the very precise alignment of these devices with respect to the light carrying medium (i.e. fibres or waveguides). For optical multi-mode applications, that is. where multiple optical modes propagate through the fibres/waveguides, potentially at different speeds, leading to pulse-distortion at higher data-rates, mechanical alignment accuracies in the order of 5 .mu.m (micrometers) are required.
"Many concepts have been proposed in the past, e.g. using passive alignment with different types of packages or optical subassemblies. Very few of them ever made it into a product, mostly because of large scale manufacturing problems and high cost. Independent of the concept used is the fact that no matter what, at one moment in time the electro-optical components must be aligned with the required accuracy with respect to either a package, board or a subassembly.
"With the constant increase of data-rates and 'bandwidth', new generations of systems are carefully considering the need to migrate to optical transmission to meet product performance targets. So far the limiting factor has been the cost of producing affordable optical transceiver assemblies which convert electrical signals into optical pulses and on the other end of the signal path to reconvert optical inputs back into electrical signals. Integration of rigid structures or even the uses of fibre bundles are complex and cumbersome to the overall system architecture.
"U.S. Pat. No. 7,336,864 describes an opto-electronic board including a printed wiring board with an optical waveguide, a metallic area, and a hole, wherein an abutting face of the optical waveguide and an abutting face of the metallic area form a part of the side face of the hole. The opto-electronic board further comprises an opto-electronic circuit with a bonding pad, wherein the opto-electronic circuit is arranged in the hole and soldered with its bonding pad to the abutting face of the metallic area."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In accordance with the present invention, a method is provided to fabricate an optical assembly by horizontally positioning a flexible portion of a substrate including a waveguide, the waveguide exposed at one end edge of the substrate, bending the flexible portion of the substrate to place the waveguide exposed end in approximately a vertical position, vertically positioning a flip-chip bonder bond head containing an optical component upon the waveguide exposed substrate edge to optically mate the optical component with the exposed waveguide; and fixably mounting the optical component to the substrate edge.
"In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a method is provided for fabricating an optical assembly by placing a flexible portion of a substrate including a waveguide upon a horizontally movable stage of a flip-chip bonder, the waveguide exposed at one end edge of the substrate wherein the stage includes an opening positioned underneath the substrate exposed end edge, vertically upwardly moving a clamp through the stage opening to bend the flexible portion of the substrate to place the waveguide exposed end in approximately a vertical position, vertically downwardly moving a bond head containing an optical component upon the waveguide exposed substrate edge to position the optical component with the exposed waveguide, fixably mounting the optical component to the substrate edge, and releasing the optical component from the bond head while moving the clamp vertically downward through the stage opening to unbend the flexible portion of the substrate with the optical component mounted.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like references denote similar elements, and in which:
"FIG. 1 shows a typical flip-chip bonder installation not belonging to the present invention;
"FIGS. 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e and 2f show an optical assembly and flip-chip bonder in different configurations in accordance with a first embodiment;
"FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the steps of the process described with respect to FIG. 2;
"FIGS. 4a, 4b and 4c show a first coupling technique;
"FIGS. 5a, 5b, and 5c show a second coupling technique;
"FIG. 6 shows parts of a flip-chip bonder adapted for carrying the steps of the method of FIG. 3;
"FIG. 7 shows a substrate comprising multiple optical assemblies; and
"FIG. 8 shows a flip-chip bonder adapted for continuous processing."
For more information, see this patent application: Oggioni,
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