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News | March 10, 2023

NY State Photonics Board Approves $27.5M Investment in State-of-the-Art Facility for Advanced Electronic-Photonic Packaging

By AIM Photonics

New York State Photonics Board Outlines Next Steps for NYS investment in AIM Photonics’ Test, Assembly and Packaging Facility in Rochester

Board Approves $27.5M Investment in State-of-the-Art Facility for Advanced Electronic-Photonic Packaging

The New York State Photonics Board of Officers met recently to discuss the state’s continued commitment to AIM Photonics’ Test, Assembly, and Packaging (TAP) facility in Rochester, NY. As a result, the board approved a proposal for $27.5 million in previously committed New York State funding to invest $23 million in new equipment and tool upgrades to further enhance the TAP facility’s R&D capabilities and $4.5 million in operational support to amplify the consortium’s collaboration with regional universities. The specific recommendations are part of the state’s original $250 million commitment to AIM Photonics.

“Integrated photonics technologies offer the promise of smaller, better, faster, lighter devices that will significantly improve people’s lives and help ensure our country’s defense readiness,” said Wade Cook, AIM Photonics Executive Director. “We appreciate the investment that New York State has made in this critical technology and are excited to continue to expand the capabilities of our TAP facility in Rochester.”

Furthermore, Cook added that this funding will help support AIM Photonics’ education and workforce development (EWD) effort to create more educational opportunities for interns, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students in the region, in turn helping to train the highly skilled manufacturing workforce needed to support the photonics industry.

The development of advanced packaging technologies is an important part of AIM Photonics’ mission to grow the integrated photonics ecosystem in the U.S. Currently, more than 190 organizations are engaged with AIM, including consortium members, multi-project wafer (MPW) and advanced packaging customers, research collaborators, and photonic integrated circuit (PIC) designers that use the process design kits (PDK) developed by AIM to enable the manufacture of prototype chips at the Albany Nanotech Complex.

Access to domestic advanced packaging capabilities is critical to the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. defense contractors, and photonics industry and academic partners. Currently, AIM Photonics’ TAP facility is the only accessible 300 mm electronic-photonic packaging facility in the U.S.

“Today, about 97% of electronic and photonic packaging is being done outside the United States,” said Chris Striemer, AIM Photonics’ TAP Business Development and Facilities Manager. “The U.S. cannot match the scale of the overseas packaging industry, but we can capitalize on the skills and drive of U.S. innovators to define and scale the next phase of advanced packaging through development of new technologies, tools and processes,” he added.

Modern packages are more like entire systems of chips that gain considerable performance advantage through very close proximity and fine interconnection. This new funding is going to take the core capabilities of AIM Photonics to the next level to meet the needs of both large and small collaborators who are asking for more complex three-dimensional builds, he added.

“Our ability to not only build these complex electronic assemblies, but also having the advanced equipment that will enable photonic technologies to be imbedded within these structures, positions TAP to be a national center for packaging innovation,” Striemer said.

These new capabilities also allow TAP to work more closely with the heterogeneous integration activities at the Albany Nanotech Complex, which is building more advanced chips through the integration of novel materials and structures onto its core silicon chip platform.