Best ATE Paper Award Highlights Test Solution for Silicon Photonics

Imec and Cascade Microtech (now FormFactor) receive SEMI Test Vision 2020 “Best ATE Paper of 2016” award

By Paul Trio, SEMI

Test Vision 2020, the premier workshop in the area of Automated Test Equipment (ATE), presented their Best ATE Paper of 2016 Award to Imec and Cascade Microtech (now FormFactor, Inc.) at SEMICON West 2017 in July. Sponsored by SEMI, the theme of this year’s Test Vision 2020 conference was “Fast-Track to Smarter Test.” The award-winning paper, ‘Test-Station for Flexible Semi-Automatic Wafer-Level Silicon Photonics Testing was originally presented at the IEEE European Test Symposium (ETS'16) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in May 2016. The authors for this paper are: Jeroen De Coster, Peter De Heyn, Marianna Pantouvaki, Brad Snyder, Hongtao Chen, Erik Jan Marinissen, Philippe Absil, Joris Van Campenhout (imec – Leuven, Belgium) and Bryan Bolt (Cascade Microtech, now FormFactor, Inc. – Beaverton, Oregon).

The purpose of the Test Vision 2020 Best ATE Paper Award is to single out and publicize the most influential ATE paper of the year to stimulate innovation in the ATE industry. Silicon photonics technologies are a particularly attractive solution for developing low-cost optical interconnects with high performance. Imec is developing a silicon photonics technology platform. The award-winning paper describes a test equipment set-up for optical and electro-optical testing of 300mm wafers with silicon photonics components and circuits, such as waveguides, fiber grating couplers, photodetectors, modulators, filters, etc. Imec has developed this test system based on a Cascade Microtech PA300 semi-automatic wafer prober. Dedicated calibration procedures were designed to ensure the long-term reproducibility of measurement results.

For the 2016 award, in total 27 papers were considered, presented at nine different conferences and workshops worldwide throughout 2016. The entries were judged on originality, importance, and clarity by a committee consisting of senior industry and academic experts. They first selected a shortlist of three finalists. After soliciting inputs from the wider ATE community, the committee selected the ETS 2016 paper by imec and Cascade Microtech as the winner.


Benjamin Brown, VP engineering at Xcerra Corp. and Best ATE Paper Award chair, said: “The selection is a highly competitive process and this year all three finalists were especially noteworthy. The committee settled on the imec/Cascade Microtech paper, because the problem it addresses is leading edge, its description of the issues was eloquent, and the paper provided much good real data for people to assess results. We were especially impressed with the metrology data showing measurement variation over the long term. The authors’ tenacity was highly praised in our meeting.”

“We are excited about the recognition of the work done in our research program on optical interconnect and silicon photonics, now also from the test community,” said Philippe Absil, R&D director 3D and Optical Technologies at imec and co-author of the award-winning paper.

“It is an honor to work with a technology leader such as imec, on understanding and overcoming the test challenges of silicon photonics. This cooperation has greatly accelerated our product development for optical I/O test applications,” said Bryan Bolt, director of systems engineering at FormFactor, Inc.

Imec’s Jeroen De Coster and FormFactor’s Bryan Bolt were present to accept the award, and Jeroen successfully represented his winning paper again to the TestVision 2020 audience.

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August 24, 2017