Advanced packaging for photonics, optics and electronics for low cost manufacturing in Europe

The Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, big data, smart mobility and smart health initiatives create an increasing demand for faster connectivity and expanded sensor capability. To reach the required performance targets and smaller form factors, there is a growing need to integrate multiple chips, optics (sensors) and photonics into the same package. The heterogeneity of components to be packaged is increasing and this results in greater complexity – ultimately the package itself is becoming an integral part of the system: its mechanical, electromagnetic and thermal behaviours will have an increasing impact on the success of the overall system’s performance, reliability and cost.

This strong drive for more complex systems and more advanced packaging, including optics and photonics, creates an opportunity to strengthen the manufacturing and packaging value chain in Europe – to foster the competitive advantage of Europe’s semiconductor packaging expertise. The APPLAUSE project focuses on developing advanced packaging and assembly technologies for combined electronics, optics and photonics, targeting high-volume, low-cost manufacturability. New methods, processes, and tools will be developed for automated high-volume manufacturing for this type of advanced packaging – addressing current limitations for optics and photonics.

APPLAUSE consists of 12 large enterprises, 11 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and eight research and technology organisations from 11 countries. The consortium comprises a number of leading European expert organisations from electronics packaging companies and research organisations representing different value chain levels related to advanced packaging and smart system integration. The parties have complementary expertise in concept creation, design, packaging, testing and manufacturing of electronic components, as well as understanding from a wide range of markets and needs of end users. The unique European ecosystem established within the APPLAUSE consortium represents the competitive, leading edge of the technologies available and will increase Europe’s resilience and expertise in the sector.

The expected technology innovations include ultra-thin wafer and die handling, high precision photonic packaging, bonding technologies for sensitive optics components, medical and biocompatible photonic packaging, molding and 3D integration for optical component manufacturing, metrology methods and tools for advanced packaging as well as development of test concepts, test equipment platforms and failure analysis to combine the reduced device size and the tightening alignment specifications.

This newly developed technology will be piloted in six industrial use cases, taking the technology towards manufacturability, and ensuring short time-to-market. These use cases are: a substantially smaller 3D integrated ambient light sensor for mobile and wearable applications (ams AG, Austria); a high performance, low cost, uncooled thermal IR sensor for automotive and surveillance applications (IDEAS, Norway); high speed datacom transceivers with reduced manufacturing costs (DustPhotonics, Israel); a flexible cardiac monitoring patch (Precordior, Finland); miniaturized cardiac implants with advanced monitoring capabilities (Cardiaccs, Norway); and an optical humidity measurement module with cost-effective packaging of components (Vaisala, FinIand).

Through the APPLAUSE project, European industry will build on the European expertise in advanced packaging and assembly to develop new processes and related process equipment, process control equipment, and simulation and test methods for high volume manufacturing of advanced packages combining semiconductors, optics and photonics.

Moritz Stoerring
36 months
M€ 34.5
Advanced packaging for photonics, optics and electronics for low cost manufacturing in Europe