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LTCC Substrate Technology for Diode Laser Modules

Lisa Daykin of GSI Ltd stated that “this was a new and exciting technology that would be extremely applicable to future products"

In today’s global and commercial consumer society, packaging is an essential and indispensible part of a product’s design and the challenges faced by packaging engineers should not be underestimated. New electronic systems for automotive, communications, medical, military and aerospace applications will continue to challenge both packaging engineers and technology due to the increased performance requirements, higher densities, higher temperatures and limited space available.

Low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTTC) technology is known to be a cost-effective, adaptable, and marketable solution to demanding packaging applications. A particular challenge however, is in providing cooling solutions to highly packed electronic and optical components.

Under the direction of Professor Denis Hall, Heriot-Watt University researchers responded to the need to provide cooling solutions to highly packed electronic and optical components by proving that green ceramic tape (LTCC) could be laser machined to produce structures for precise photonic applications, rather than the previous emphasis on electronics.

An advantage of LTTC laminated manufacture is that internal hollow structures can be obtained within the non-porous, low expansion coefficient ceramic. This process allows internal water-cooling of a ceramic substrate for integration of high power lasers. A programme to demonstrate cooling of the industry-standard single BA emitter type of diode laser has succeeded in showing the first use of internal substrate cooling under a commercial diode laser chip. This allowed the researchers at Heriot-Watt to achieve low thermal impedance which is appropriate for the next generation of laser chips with higher power.

The future lies in integrating many lasers on a ceramic “circuit board” supplying both cooling and precise support for optical component which will in turn allow products to be packaged appropriately safeguarding the design inside. The results of this project have attracted industrial interest from GSI Ltd who use this kind of diode laser in their portfolio of fibre lasers products. A process patent has also been filed on the laser machining of green ceramic tape. This resulted in a dedicated CO2 laser-cutting machine for LTCC lamination sheets in the Microsystems Group, designed and developed by PowerPhotonic Ltd., joining a suite of other equipments for the complete lamination and firing of structures.

For more information contact:

Denis Hall
0131 451 3081
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