All Aboard for the
Optoelectronics Boom

By Joe Montano, President & CEO

Photonics is a key target market for Delphon. And the optoelectronics sub-discipline is a fast-growing area of focus for our Gel-Pak® line of carrier products, which protect valuable die and components from damage during shipping and handling.

Our legacy product lines utilizing silicone films have been, and continue to be, deployed successfully for many years in a variety of markets, including optoelectronics. However, as material requirements have become stricter and specifications for optoelectronics applications have tightened significantly, we’ve developed new Gel-Pak offerings designed specifically to meet these heightened market constraints. These include our new VRP Vacuum-Release polyurethane film carriers, utilizing our proprietary Vertec® material, and APV polyurethane Gel-Box line, as well as our new micro-textured BTFX universal JEDEC tray. To promote these products and learn more from our target customer base, we recently went on an optoelectronics “listening tour.”

Collaboration is key

As we continue to grow and develop, a key objective is for Delphon to become a collaborative development partner and solution provider to our customers. We’re excited to work with companies in the photonics space to develop strategies that integrate our products and technologies while helping them move toward their own larger objectives. This is a passion for me as CEO, so I embarked on the tour with great anticipation for the discussions ahead!

In late June, we visited the greater Rochester, N.Y., area, home to a high concentration of optoelectronics companies thanks to both state incentives and the numerous prominent manufacturers with optical roots that have emerged from the region such as Kodak and Bausch & Lomb. The tour gave us the opportunity to visit a large number of optoelectronics customers in one place and promote the newly launched products – and, more significantly, to investigate new collaborative development opportunities.

During the trip, we talked to more than a dozen companies of diverse size and scope, representing some cross-pollination between packaging, optoelectronics, photonics and laser providers. We came away with a wealth of feedback and some exciting ideas that will help us take Gel-Pak to the next level.

Meeting highlights

The tour yielded three primary objectives centered around the different types of companies with whom we met, all at varying stages of development.

  1. Search for collaboration opportunities with universities, early-stage startups and incubators. By engaging with these firms at the ground level, we can develop in parallel with them and become a key enabler for their emerging technologies. The face-to-face meetings interactions helped identify key areas that we can address with Gel-Pak’s fundamental capabilities. Below are a few key examples.

    • Mosaic Microsystems – a startup that has commercialized the use of thin glass substrates with through-glass via (TGVs) to further enhance heterogeneous packaging for next-generation microelectronics and photonics.
    • TOPTICA Photonics – develops and manufactures high-end laser systems for scientific and industrial applications. Headquartered in Germany, their U.S. location specializes in optical isolators, used to provide one-way light transmission in sophisticated lightwave systems for high-power applications.
    • Luminate Accelerator – a New York State-funded incubator program for optics, photonics and imaging startups, Luminate awards $3 million annually to 10 companies from around the world that are developing emerging technologies. The Rochester Institute of Technology is also a key contributor.
  2. Gain greater exposure to AIM members

    • AIM Photonics – a consortium of large and small photonics companies, government institutes and university researchers, AIM is located at the Albany Nanotech Complex near the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany. We toured AIM’s Test, Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility, essentially a fully functioning fab, to gain a better understanding of their capabilities. This visit underscored the value of engaging with the consortium to not only help address their needs, but to gain exposure to their members, broadening the audience for our products and technology and creating new partnership opportunities.
  3. Check in on high-volume manufacturing customers’ current usage/applications, explore new collaboration opportunities

    • Precision Optical Transceivers – develops and provides optical transceivers and relative active/passive optical components and custom-engineered optical solutions. They have a strong R&D effort focused on silicon photonics, signal processing, RF, and software-defined networking. As an AIM Photonics member, they’re developing silicon photonics devices for on-chip optical signal processing. Already a user of our technology, the meeting afforded a chance for us to refresh the relationship and talk about how we can support and help enable their new development efforts.
    • Optimax – a maker of precision and prototype optics, including aspheres, lenses, prisms, cylinders and domes, as well as a coating provider. Optimax advanced optics are used for high-power laser, direct-energy and deep-ultraviolet systems. The company is committed to developing high-quality prototypes with fast-turn delivery, demanding the kind of premier protection our Gel-Pak products provide in order for the prototypes to arrive safely and in pristine condition.

Our New York tour allowed us to see firsthand some of the exciting development work taking place in photonics and optoelectronics and learn more about the challenges that these companies are facing. Through these in-person engagements, we’ve initiated, or expanded, dialogues that we look forward to pursuing further as we continue to broaden the market opportunities for our full line of Gel-Pak products.