21 April 2006 Cost-efficient hermetic fibre pigtailed laser module utilizing passive device alignment on an LTCC substrate
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Abstract
A hermetic fibre pigtailed laser module utilizing passive device alignment on a low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) substrate is demonstrated. The 3-dimensional shape of the laminated and fired ceramic substrate provides the necessary alignment structures including holes, grooves and cavities for the laser to fibre coupling. The achieved passive alignment accuracy allows high coupling efficiency realizations of multi-mode fibre pigtailed laser modules. The ceramic substrate is intrinsically hermetic and it opens up a possibility to produce cost efficient hermetic packaging. In our concept hermetic sealing is produced by utilizing Kovar frame, which is soldered to an LTCC substrate. Kovar frame has a hole for fibre feed-trough and a hermetic glass-metal sealing between fibre and frame is processed using glass preform. The heart of the module is a power laser diode chip, which can produce several watts of continuous power. The module, however, can be finally used as a transmitter in a laser pulse time-of-flight distance sensor and in this application it can be overdriven by a factor of 10. This means that the peak optical power in the pulses can be several tens of watts. The laser chip allows this kind of overdriving due to the fact that the duty factor in the operation is only 0.0001 at 2 kHz pulsing frequency. Optical coupling efficiency of the multi-mode laser system was simulated using optical systems simulation software. The nominal coupling efficiency between 210 μm x 1μm stripe laser and 200/220 μm step index fibre (NA=0.22) was 0.65. The simulated coupling efficiency was verified by prototype realization and characterization. The measured average coupling efficiency of the hermetically sealed prototypes was 0.39. The coupling efficiencies of prototypes varied from 0.14 to 0.64. Leak rate of 1 x 10-7 [atm x cm3/s] was measured in the helium leak tests for the final prototype module, when the module was tested according to MIL-STD-883D method 1014.9 specification. Leak rate for the module using a buffer stripper fibre without a rubber guard tube was 3 x 10-9 [atm x cm3/s]. The background helium level before and after the tests was less than 3 x 10-10 [atm x cm3/s]. This clearly higher leak rate in the final module leak measurement is mainly due to the absorbed helium to the fibre polymer buffer layer and rubber guard tube in the pressurization process. Measurements show that the implemented module is hermetic. Cost-of-ownership modelling was performed starting from low production volume up to production of 10 million good modules per year. Module production cost was estimated through COO modelling. Modelling forecasted that the module production can be lower than 10 EUR in high volume production.
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K. Keränen, J. Ollila, J.-T Mäkinen, K. Kautio, P. Korhonen, V. Heikkinen, O. Väätäinen, J. Heilala, P. Karioja, "Cost-efficient hermetic fibre pigtailed laser module utilizing passive device alignment on an LTCC substrate", Proc. SPIE 6185, Micro-Optics, VCSELs, and Photonic Interconnects II: Fabrication, Packaging, and Integration, 61850N (21 April 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.663753; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.663753
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