Partnership innovates in enhanced test coverage and delivers cost efficiencies for reliable, high-volume testing

Singapore, 16June 2022CompoundTek Pte Ltd (CompoundTek), a global foundry service provider in emerging silicon photonics (SiPh) solutions, and STAr Technologies Inc (STAr), one of leading providers for semiconductor test solutions,today announced that they have successfully developed a groundbreaking Silicon Photonics (SiPh) Wafer Test Solution with automatic fibre array block edge coupling.

This breakthrough will help to address the need from SiPh product companies and manufacturers to be able to test the wafer as per howthe light is coupled into the SiPh product in the end application, thus expanding the test coverage capability of the wafer test.This ispossibly the only SiPh tester with the capabilityfor edge coupling fiber array automatically to SiPh ICs with trench width smaller than 100µm,which is of high repeatability and efficiency.

CompoundTek’s Chief Executive Officer, Raj Kumar, explained,“Testing the die using vertical grating coupler will compromise the test coverage of the wafer testing, as the test condition is not the same as per what it is going to be used in the field. Furthermore, designers will have to allocate space in the prime die for this vertical grating coupler and their test structure, increasing the die size as a result, while lowering gross die per wafer.”

“Skipping the wafer test totally will drive up the overall cost of products, as companies cannot identify SiPh known good dies before assembling with other dies, resulting in overall high costs and material wastage if a defective SiPh is assembled,” he added.

SiPh today is a technology that is not only used to displace traditional electrical interconnects, but also used in a broad range of applications, including lidar, quantum computing, and bio-sensing.However, the integration of optical components on a chip creates a host of new engineering and high-volume manufacturing challenges in wafer-level testing of SiPh devices as most of the products use an edge coupler to couple the light in and out of the chip. To go around the challenges of the edge coupler, most product companies either use vertical grating coupler during wafer test or choose to skip wafer test and only test after the SiPh test is assembled and packaged.

CompoundTek and STAr enable this technology with very precise positioningof fiber array block with accuracy and repeatability down to 0.1um, in a narrow trench of typically less than 100µm wide. The test fiberscan deflect the light at about 90 degrees into the edge coupler withlow optical power insertion loss and extremely low light reflection. This is enabled through patent-pending fiber alignment test kits and pattern recognition software that applies to all SiPh devices for both optical-optical and electro-optical tests.

STAr’sCEO and Founder, Dr Choon Leongsaid, “The jointly developed tester managed to address the technical challenges required for wafer-level efficient edge coupling testing with up to 50 per cent reduction in setup and alignment test time while keeping test system cost as low as 40 per cent lower than that of others available in the market. This partnership marks a new milestone for SiPh testing that successfully meets the market’spresent and future needs for a reliable and cost-efficient test system for both vertical and edge coupling, especially for high-volume testing. We believe that our test solutionhas hit the sweet spot in terms of meeting performance and cost requirements.”

The technology shift in the form of SiPh demonstrates the potential for measurable gains in speed, power efficiency and density. The first wave of the SiPh revolution is poised to roll over data centres around the world with optical interconnects that break the barriers set by copper wire. In parallel, the development of SiPh transceivers has resulted in increased demand forcost-effective wafer test solutions, enabling the industry to improve its quality control coverage at the wafer-level, potentially driving down product costs due to failures after packaging.

Singapore-based CompoundTek has a line-up of over 20 global commercial customers alongside collaborations with more than 20 research institutes and universities in various applications such as telecommunications, automotive radar, data communications, bio-sensing, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and smart sensors.

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 About IGSS Ventures Pte Ltd

Singapore-based IGSS Ventures’ hybrid business and technology models enable the company to offer unique capabilities across two core segments namelyplant and fab/foundry transformation services and disruptive semiconductor technologies in applications that go beyond Moore’s Law. As a one-stop semiconductor solutions hub with three key subsidiaries, IGSSV’s differentiated business portfolio span:

  1. IGSS which specialises inplant operational excellence and greenfield projects through our build-operate-manage-transfer (BOMT) approach;
  2. IGaN which provides development and manufacturing on GaN-on-Si; and
  3. CompoundTek offers co-design services, automated testing and commercialisation of silicon photonics (SiPh) with a dedicated 8” CMOS foundry.

 About CompoundTek Pte Ltd

Founded and supported by industry veterans and technologists, Singapore-based CompoundTek combines world-class commercial foundry with leading silicon photonics (SiPh) research institutes to provide cutting-edge SiPh technologies that enhance foundry services capabilities. As one of the elites offering SiPh solutions internationally, CompoundTek brings to the marketplace revolutionary semiconductor applications designed to meet critical requirements in high bandwidth and high data transfer solutions, particularly in emerging connectivity driving Industry 4.0. The company’s in-depth know-how includes end-to-end technologies – from proprietary fabrication process expertise to product design support with strategic partners and extended services for end-product manufacturing. CompoundTek’s global customers span leading brands and FORTUNE 500 companies in high-growth industries including artificial intelligence, automotive, bio-medical diagnostics, data centre, lidar, smart sensor, telecommunication and quantum optical computing.

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About STAr Technologies

Founded in 2000, and headquartered in HsinChu, Taiwan, STAr Technologies is a leader in semiconductor and test solutions;providing intellectual property, software, hardware, consumables, service and expertise to meet the requirements and challenges within the semiconductor industries. STAr’s global customers span leading foundries, IDMs, fabless companies in various market sectors across semiconductor industries including computing, memory ICs, telecommunications, industrial, automotive, CMOS imaging, data centres, smart sensors, etc.

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