Special bonding technology by SCHOTT Primoceler provides increased reliability for VCSELs in aerospace applications

The more sophisticated and sensitive optoelectronics are, the more important it is to protect them from harsh environmental influences. Optical components, which transmit and receive light signals, face new challenges when they are exposed to space conditions, such as cosmic radiation, extreme temperatures, and vacuums.

At the EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium) meeting on “New Space,” hosted at ESA (European Space Agency) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, a set of companies defined some of the key priorities for a “New Space” roadmap. The “New Space” trend aims to bring mature, established technologies and products to the Space market that either compete with or complement existing commercial space services. The focus of the latest conference included topics such as miniaturized LiDAR, ultra-low power & highly efficient datacom receivers, concepts for optical network architecture, as well as novel cameras and sensors for environmental monitoring.

When it comes to optoelectronic components like VCSELs (vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers) in satellites or telescopes, specialty glass and technology from SCHOTT Primoceler offer promising solutions. “Our unique wafer-level micro bonding method enables a hermetic and radiation tolerant glass package for VCSEL arrays. And this is not only interesting for terrestrial applications,” explains Ville Hevonkorpi, Managing Director of SCHOTT Primoceler Oy. In a study in cooperation with ESA, Primoceler’s glass bonding experts verified the performance of all-in-glass packages under extreme conditions. The laser-based technology demonstrated that the risks of surface and internal contamination, such as outgassing, are reduced as no additive materials are used for the contactless bonding of two or more glass wafers. Additionally, the room-temperature process has an extremely low heat affected zone, which means it can be beneficial for encapsulating sensitive components and reducing safety zones, enabling miniaturization. Hevonkorpi: “All tests regarding optical quality, moisture resistance, vibration, hermeticity, and resistance to glass cracking have been passed. This means our all-in-glass packages for VCSELs and other optical systems are suitable for space applications and provide high reliability for these applications.”

SCHOTT Primoceler’s glass-to-glass bonding technology opens new doors for hermetic sealing possibilities thanks to unprecedented miniaturization and no need for additive materials. Besides microfluidics, microelectronics, and micro-optics, the full-glass packages also enable the development of next-generation active medical implants. “Our hermetic packages come in sizes so small, you have to see it to believe it”, says bonding specialist Hevonkorpi.  

Link: https://www.schott.com/primoceler/hermetic-glass-bonding/

SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass, glass-ceramics and related high-tech materials. With over 130 years of experience, the company is an innovative partner to many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT has a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 34 countries. In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the group generated sales of EUR 2.08 billion with over 15,500 employees. SCHOTT AG has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. This is one of the oldest private and largest science-promoting foundations in Germany. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment.

In a joint project with ESA, SCHOTT Primoceler’s all-in-glass-packages for VCSELs have shown to be suitable for extreme conditions in space. Photo: SCHOTT Primoceler Oy
SCHOTT Primoceler has developed an innovative, extremely precise technology that enables additive-free, room-temperature hermetic glass bonding. Photo: SCHOTT Primoceler Oy
Components used in optics have to work reliably also under extreme space conditions, e.g. in satellites. This picture from ESA shows a satellite measuring the activities of cyclones. Photo: ESA
SCHOTT Primoceler´s experts use different specialty glasses for its all-in-glass-packages with defined properties to meet the needs of the respective applications. Photo: SCHOTT Primoceler Oy