Fully automated, high precision, cost-effective assembly technology for photonic packages remains one of the main challenges in photonic component manufacturing. Next to the cost aspect the most demanding assembly task for multiport photonic integrated circuits (PICs) is the high-precision (±0.1 μm) alignment and fixing required for optical I/O in InP PICs, even with waveguide spot size conversion. In a European research initiative – PHASTFlex - we develop and investigate an innovative, novel assembly concept, in which the waveguides in a matching TriPleX interposer PIC are released during fabrication to make them movable. After assembly of both chips by flip-chip bonding on a common carrier, TriPleX based actuators and clamping functions position and fix the flexible waveguides with the required accuracy.
This paper proposes and tests a design of electro-thermal bimorph actuators for alignment of flexible photonic waveguides fabricated in 16 µm thick SiO<sub>2</sub>. The actuators are for use in a novel alignment concept for multi-port photonic integrated circuits (PICs), in which the fine alignment is taken care of by positioning of suspended, mechanically flexible waveguide beams on one or more of the PICs. The design parameters of the bimorph actuator allow to tune both the initial relative position of the waveguide end-facets, and the motion range of the actuators. Bimorph actuators have been fabricated and characterized. The maximum out-of-plane deflection of the bimorph actuator (with 720 μm-long poly-Si) can reach 18:5 μm with 126:42mW, sufficient for the proposed application.