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White PaperRobotics, Automation & Control

Nanometer Scale Industrial Automation for Optical Device Manufacturing


Disruptive technologies, including the advancement of chip-level optical functions and the miniaturization of device interconnections, have forced the adoption of new and unproven manufacturing processes in mass production environments. Component assembly and alignment tolerances that were once measured in tens of micrometers are now scrutinized in terms of nanometers. For example, chip-based photonics are commonly designed with waveguides that are only a few hundred nanometers wide and have alignment tolerances to external components or fibers that can be tens of nanometers. Not achieving these tolerances during the assembly process causes attenuation and signal loss that affect device functionality. Optical research laboratories have made many process advancements at the nanometer scale, but taking these same techniques and applying them to an industrial automation process is no small task and carries significant risk. Fortunately, the risks of developing production platforms with enough robustness and throughput can be mitigated by choosing the appropriate automation equipment.

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