NEPCON West - Fiberoptic Expo Conference Proceedings


Authors: Randy Heyler et al.
Company: Newport Corporation
Date Published: 12/3/2002   Conference: NEPCON West - Fiberoptic Expo

Seika Machinery, Inc.

Abstract: Fiber attachment is one of the primary cost drivers in the packaging of fiber-optic components. This process requires sub-micron precision, and directly affects not only the performance of the device, but the material cost, capital equipment expense, and assembly yield of the process as well.

Until recently, the use of optical adhesives and laser welding were the two primary options for fiber attachment. Adhesives provide the benefit of being applicable to a wide variety of optical assembly tasks, and allow for re-adjustment of the fiber or optical element during the curing cycle. However, the curing cycle is typically long (minutes), and the residual stresses, moisture absorption, and outgassing of adhesives prevents their use in a number of applications. Laser welding, by contrast, is fast, repeatable, clean, and highly automatable. However it requires substantially higher outlays in material costs (as each component must be encased in metal) and capital equipment (where a laser welder can be as much as 5X-10X more expensive than an adhesive delivery and curing system).

Fluxless soldering offers many of the benefits of laser welding without the longer cycle times, potential contamination, or long-term reliability issues associated with adhesives. It also requires less pre-processing of the fiber and less expensive equipment to implement. This technique has been fully Telcordia qualified for use in several long-haul applications, and is now being commercially deployed and applied to other applications as well.

This paper will cover the basics of Fluxless laser soldering, explain the cost and performance benefits vs. adhesives and laser welding, and provide guidance on where this new technique can be effectively applied in the fiber-optic component assembly process.

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