Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment Systems

Easy-to-Integrate Subsystems for quickly Aligning Fibre Optics or Optical Components

PI provides active optical alignment motion controllers for optic and fibre optic test and packaging. Depending on the number of motion axis, speed and precision required, these can be used with our piezo-based scanners, motorised positioners or hexapods.


PI can help you:


Improve productivity
Increase the precision of your process
Enhance the quality of what you produce.
  • Fast, continuous scanning tasks with piezo scanners.
  • Larger travel ranges are realised with XYZ combinations or 6-axis hexapods.
  • High-performance controllers control all axes using firmware-based routines for simultaneous optimisation of several inputs and outputs.
  • Shortest possible times for integrated routines. 
  • High industrial throughput with a process time of up to < 0.6 seconds.
  • Optimise applications for the highest throughput in 24/7 operation.
  • The user-friendly PIMikroMove® software allows access to all functions of the controller. 
  • All systems come with extensive software for easy setup and integration. 

View the UK's most complete range of products for optics alignment and silicon photonics.



Of course, all of these functions can be realised via all common programming languages such as Python, LabVIEW, C++, and Matlab.


For more information about these positioning technologies and their importance for research development and manufacturing of silicon photonics devices, quantum computing devices, and anything of this sort, your best first place for information is to Ed Williams your local PI applications engineer. 

Scott Jordan, Head of Market Segment Photonics

When you choose PI as a partner you also benefit from:

Software supported by all popular operating systems
On-site training and individual support
Individual consultation from trained specialists
Premium Technical Support
Gain reliability and save on development and process time
Global Experts in active alignment

Get Expert Advice and Tailored Quotes

Contact Ed today.

PI's Unique Parallel Gradient Search Technology

Based on micron- or even nanometer-scale exploratory motions of the alignment system, the algorithm measures the local gradient of a figure-of-merit such as image quality of a camera lens system or the output power of a laser. This gradient is then automatically followed until the desired position and orientation of the elements is reached. The routine allows excellent tracking and therefore it is possible to compensate any drift effects. PI's unique approach allows multiple gradient search routines to proceed in parallel. This means optimization of multiple elements, degrees-of-freedom, channels, etc., can proceed simultaneously. This breakthrough capability can reduce overall optimization times by two or more orders of magnitude.

>>> Read mote about PI's Active Alignment Technology.

Fast simultaneous alignment across multiple I/Os and DOFs
Parallelism can improve global optimisation times by 100X
Time-efficient algorithms allow process times less than 0.6 sec

Active Alignment Systems and Tools for Photonics

Unique, easy-to-integrate subsystems for optics alignment and silicon photonics

18-Axis Double Alignment System

18-Axis double alignment system provides fast NxM alignment of SiP devices in wafer probers. Cascade Microtech's pioneering CM300xi photonics-enabled engineering wafer probe station integrates PI's Fast Multichannel Photonics Alignment Systems for high throughput, wafer-safe, nano-precision optical probing of on-wafer Silicon Photonics devices. All positioning systems from PI can be controlled clearly and comfortably with PI MikroMove.

Video showing software-selectable pivot point capability, set to fiber tip in this example (Courtesy Cascade Microtech div. of. Formfactor, Inc.)


>>> Read more about Fully-Automated Testing of Silicon Photonics at Wafer Level.

Automated Multi-Channel Fiber Array Alignment

Connecting optical fibers (single-mode or multi-mode fibers) to silicon photonic devices (SiP) is still one of the most challenging and intricate tasks in test and packaging of these devices.  This automated subsystem for wafer probing with high throughput presents an approach for fiber array alignment and other photonics test and packaging processes combining  hexapod 6-axis motion platforms, gantriesfast alignment algorithms and software for fast scanning in alignment processes

Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment System

Alignment systems for high-throughput silicon photonics testing and packaging must be automated, extremely fast, and execute all tasks simultaneously – hallmarks of PI’s fiber alignment systems. They guarantee reproducibility, stability and 100% closed-loop operation ensures device safety. It is easy to use and offers maximum compatibility thanks to the groundbreaking, comprehensive software package with firmware-based algorithms and built-in routines. 

>>> Read about Tegema's Photonic Assembly Platform - Powered by PI.

Get Expert Advice and Tailored Quotes

Contact Ed today.

Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment Systems

PI’s Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment (FMPA) systems are based on a highly specialized digital motion controller (E-712) and a hybrid active alignment mechanism to achieve the required long travel ranges without sacrificing stability, resolution or alignment speed. FMPA is implemented in the E-712 controller’s modular firmware to enable fast, simultaneous alignment and tracking of multichannel couplings in multiple degrees of freedom. The efficient algorithms for first light detection, area scanning, and gradient search guarantee highest throughput in 24/7 operation.

Hexapods for Alignment

PI‘s hexapod-based photonics alignment systems provide 6 degrees of freedom motion. The hexapod controller has many built-in routines for commands finding first light and optimizing the alignment. An optional analog input can be used with optical power meters. The user-programmable pivot point is a significant advantage – it can be set to any location, for example the tip of a fiber, the waist of a beam or the surface of a SiP wafer. The F-712 high-speed optical power meter is recommended for high-throughput applications.

Modular Alignment Engines

Modular alignment engines are based on a combination of linear stages and goniometers for rotation. In the case of the F-131, a Piezo XYZ scanner is mounted on an XYZ motorized stage for long travel. The piezo scanner allows for ultra-fast scanning and alignment, or for mapping the output characteristics of an optical device in fractions of a second.

Get Expert Advice and Tailored Quotes

Contact Ed today.



Overview: System Components for Automated, Fast Multi-DOF Alignment

Gain Reliability and Save Development and Process Time
Version / Date
Document language English
pdf - 3 MB

Alignment for Optics and Silicon Photonics

Fast Multi-Channel Photonic System
Version / Date
BRO57E 2017-10
Version / Date
BRO57CN 2018-11
Document language
pdf - 8 MB
pdf - 20 MB
White Paper

Practical Examples of Parallel Alignment Automation

Version / Date
WP4010E 2018-04
Version / Date
WP4010CN 2018-12
Document language
pdf - 1 MB
pdf - 786 KB