A hermetic fiber pigtailed laser module utilizing passive device alignment on a low-temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC) substrate is demonstrated. The 3-D shape of the laminated and cofired ceramic substrate provides the necessary alignment structures, including grooves and cavities, for the laser-to-fiber coupling. When the laser diode chip and component tolerances are tight enough, the passive alignment allows high coupling efficiency realizations of multimode fiber pigtailed laser modules. The ceramic substrate is intrinsically hermetic and it opens up the possibility to use the substrate as an integrated part of the hermetic module package. In our concept hermetic sealing is produced by utilizing a Kovar frame, which is soldered to an LTCC substrate. The Kovar frame has a hole for a fiber feed-through and a hermetic glass-metal seal between fiber and frame is processed using a glass preform. The module can be used as a transmitter in a laser pulse time-of-flight distance sensor and in this application it can be overdriven by a factor of 10. This means that the peak optical power in the pulses can be several dozen watts. The laser chip allows this kind of overdriving, due to the fact that the duty factor in the operation is only 0.0% at 2 kHz pulsing frequency, which leads to an average power of several milliwatts. The simulated nominal coupling efficiency between the 210 mum times 1 mum stripe laser and the 200/220 mum step index fiber (NA = 0.22) was 0.65. The measured coupling efficiency of the hermetically sealed prototypes varied from 0.14 to 0.64, where the average was 0.39. A leak rate of 1 times 10-7 . .. 8 times 10-7 [atm times cm3/s] was measured in the helium leak tests of the final operational prototypes, when the modules were tested according to MIL-STD-883F method 1014.9 specification. The rather high leak rate is mainly due to the helium absorbed by the fiber polymer buffer layer and rubber guard tube in the pressurization process. The leak rate for the dummy modules using a buffer stripped fiber without a rubber guard tube was 3 times 10-9 . .. 1 times 10-8 [atm times cm3/s]. The maximum allowed leak rate for this size of hermetic module is 1 times 10-7 [atm times cm3/s]. The background helium level before and after the tests was less than 3 times 10-10 [atm times cm3/s]. Measurements proved that the manufacturing procedure is capable of producing hermetic fiber pigtailed laser modules.
- hermetic laser module
- hybrid integration
- low-temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC)
- passive alignment