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Indirect monitoring of semiconductor light source within a photonic package
RE42845 Indirect monitoring of semiconductor light source within a photonic package
Patent Drawings:Drawing: RE42845-2    Drawing: RE42845-3    Drawing: RE42845-4    
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Inventor: Ohm, et al.
Date Issued: October 18, 2011
Application: 12/370,441
Filed: February 12, 2009
Inventors: Ohm; David R. (Longmont, CO)
Booman; Richard A. (Lake Oswego, OR)
Assignee: Null Networks LLC (Las Vegas, NV)
Primary Examiner: Le; Que T
Assistant Examiner:
Attorney Or Agent: Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, P.C.
U.S. Class: 250/239; 250/216; 257/432; 257/433
Field Of Search: 250/239; 250/216; 250/552; 250/234; 250/235; 250/236; 250/551; 250/214.1; 257/431; 257/432; 257/433; 257/80; 257/81; 257/82; 257/83; 257/84; 257/85; 385/33; 385/34; 385/35; 385/36; 385/88; 385/89; 385/90; 385/91; 385/92; 385/93
International Class: H01J 5/02; H01L 31/0232; H01J 40/14
U.S Patent Documents:
Foreign Patent Documents:
Other References: Office Action, issued in U.S. Appl. No. 10/087,877, mailed Oct. 2, 2003. cited by other.
Office Action, issued in U.S. Appl. No. 10/087,877, mailed Mar. 18, 2004. cited by other.
Notice of Allowance, issued in U.S. Appl. No. 10/087,877, mailed Jun. 10, 2004. cited by other.
Office Action, issued in U.S. Appl. No. 11/546,489, mailed May 1, 2008. cited by other.
Interview Summary, issued in U.S. Appl. No. 11/546,489, mailed Jul. 7, 2008. cited by other.









Abstract: A photonic package includes a housing having a semiconductor light source disposed within the housing. The semiconductor light source has a first output and a second output. A reflective surface is disposed inside the housing to reflect the second output from the semiconductor light source. A photodetector is also disposed within the housing and is adapted to indirectly receive the second output of the semiconductor light source reflected off the reflective surface. As a result, interior surface of a housing of an optical transponder may be utilized to provide reflected light to a photodetector to monitor the semiconductor light source.
Claim: What is claimed is:

1. A photonic package comprising: a housing; a semiconductor light source disposed within the housing, the semiconductor light source having a first output and a secondoutput; a first reflective surface disposed inside the housing selected from one of a side wall of the housing and an interior surface of a cover of the housing to reflect said second output; a second reflective surface to deflect the second output tothe first reflective surface; and a photodetector disposed within the housing adapted to indirectly receive said second output of the semiconductor light source reflected off said first reflective surface.

2. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein the photonic package comprises an optical transponder.

3. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein the first reflective surface comprises an exterior surface of an elevated substrate angularly disposed relative to the second output, to reflect said second output to said photodetector.

4. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein the second reflective surface comprises a reflective mirror to angularly reflect the second output.

5. The photonic package of claim 4, wherein the first reflective surface is optically coupled to said reflective mirror to further reflect the second output to said photodetector.

6. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein the first output is provided from a front facet of the semiconductor light source.

7. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein the second output is provided from a back facet of the semiconductor light source.

8. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein the photodetector comprises a photodiode.

9. The photonic package of claim 8, wherein the photodiode comprises a p-i-n junction photodiode.

10. The photonic package of claim 1, wherein said first reflective surface comprises a reflective coating.

11. The photonic package of claim 10, wherein the reflective coating comprises paint having a pigment of titanium dioxide.

12. A method for forming a photonic package comprising: providing a semiconductor light source to provide a first and a second output; providing a first reflective surface to reflect the second output of the semiconductor light source, whereinsaid providing of a first reflective surface comprises providing a reflective interior surface to a housing of the photonic package; providing a second reflective surface and disposing said second reflective surface in a manner such that said secondreflective surface reflects said second output of the semiconductor light source to said reflective interior surface of the housing, for reflection to .[.said.]. .Iadd.a .Iaddend.photodetector; and adapting .[.a.]. .Iadd.said .Iaddend.photodetector toindirectly receive the second output of the semiconductor light source reflected from the interior surface.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein said providing of a reflective surface comprises providing a substrate having an angular exterior surface, and the method further comprises disposing said substrate in a manner such that said angular exteriorsurface of the substrate reflects said second output of the semiconductor light source to said photodetector.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein said providing of a second reflective surface comprises of providing a mirror and disposing said mirror in a manner such that said mirror reflects said second output of the semiconductor light source to saidreflective interior surface of the .[.house.]. .Iadd.housing.Iaddend., for reflection to said photodetector.

15. The photonic package of claim 14, wherein said at least one of said first and said second reflective surfaces comprises a mirror.

16. A photonic package comprising: a housing; a semiconductor light source disposed within the housing, the semiconductor light source having a first output and a second output; a first reflective surface disposed inside the housing toreflect said second output; a second reflective surface to deflect the second output to the first reflective surface, at least one of said first and said second reflective surfaces is selected from one of a side wall of the housing and an interiorsurface of a cover of the housing; and a photodetector disposed within the housing adapted to indirectly receive said second output of the semiconductor light source reflected off said first reflective surface.

.Iadd.17. A method of monitoring a semiconductor light source substantially enclosed in a housing, the method comprising: generating a light output signal from the semiconductor light source; deflecting the light output signal from a backfacet of the semiconductor light source toward an interior surface of the housing; reflecting the light output signal from the interior surface toward a photodetector; and receiving, at the photodetector, the light output signal reflected from theinterior surface..Iaddend.

.Iadd.18. The method of claim 17, wherein said deflecting comprises deflecting the light output signal toward an interior surface selected from one of a side wall of the housing or an interior surface of a cover of the housing..Iaddend.

.Iadd.19. The method of claim 18, wherein the selected interior surface comprises a reflective surface..Iaddend.

.Iadd.20. The method of claim 17, wherein said deflecting comprises deflecting the light output signal toward an interior surface having a reflective surface..Iaddend.

.Iadd.21. The method of claim 20, wherein the reflective surface comprises a silicon mirror..Iaddend.

.Iadd.22. The method of claim 20, wherein the reflective surface comprises a reflective sheet..Iaddend.

.Iadd.23. The method of claim 20, wherein the reflective surface comprises a dielectric coating surface..Iaddend.

.Iadd.24. The method of claim 17, further comprising: generating an electrical signal at the photodetector in response to said receiving the light output signal..Iaddend.

.Iadd.25. The method of claim 24, further comprising: comparing, by a processor, the electrical signal to characterization data to facilitate calibration of the received light output signal by the photodetector..Iaddend.

.Iadd.26. The method of claim 25, further comprising: facilitating, by the processor, an adjustment of a bias voltage of the photodetector in response to said comparing..Iaddend.
Description: FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to the field of photonic packaging. More specifically, the invention relates to monitoring of a semiconductor light source within the photonic packages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With advances in integrated circuit, microprocessor, networking and communication technologies, an increasing number of devices, in particular, digital computing devices, are being networked together. Such devices are often first coupled to alocal area network, such as an Ethernet-based office/home network. In turn, the local area networks are interconnected together through wide area networks, such as Synchronous Optical Networks (SONET), Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks, FrameRelays, and the like. Of particular importance is the TCP/IP based global internetwork, the Internet. The rapid growth of the Internet has fueled a convergence of data communication (datacom) and telecommunication (telecom) protocols and requirements. It is increasingly important that data traffic be carried efficiently across local, regional and wide area networks.

The widespread deployment of high-speed networking and communications equipment has produced a large demand for various types of networking and communications components and subsystems. Included among these, are modules, which are oftenreferred to as optical transponders.

Optical transponders typically include components for both electrical signal processing, and components for transmission and reception of optical signals. Conventional optical transponders typically receive data representing electrical signalsin parallel, serialize the data represented, encode the serialized data onto a light-based signal, and couple that optical signal to an outbound optical fiber. Similarly, conventional optical transponders, typically receive a light-based signal havingdata serially encoded thereon, recover the data in an electrical form, de-serialize the data and provide them in a parallel format to a plurality of output terminals.

Conventional optical transponders typically include a case, or housing, within which the electrical and optical components are enclosed. Such a housing provides physical protection for the components therein, and also provides thermalconductivity so that heat may be dissipated from the components disposed within the case. The number of components may be numerous. However, a requirement of the housing is that the housing be of a small form factor. Accordingly, in order to have thecomponents within a housing of a small form factor, placement of the components is an important aspect of the optical transponder.

Placement of the components may be determined by one component's operation relative to another's. For example, as described above, a component, such as a semiconductor light source, that operates to provide light-based signals is placed in sucha manner as to be optically coupled to another component, such as an optical fiber, that operates to optically transmit light-based signals.

Integrity of the light-based signals and stability of the semiconductor may be based upon power output of the semiconductor light source. Accordingly, an important component of an optical transponder is semiconductor light source monitoringdevice, such as a photodetector, that can monitor the power output of the semiconductor light source. Due to design of a common semiconductor light source used in optical transponders, the semiconductor light source can provide light in more than onepath, e.g., two light paths, simultaneously. One light path, commonly known as light source facet, is directed to the optical fiber. Another light path, commonly referred to as back facet, may be directed to a light receiving area of the photodetector. The photodetector receives the light via the light receiving area, or window, and the light is converted to electrical signals, which are sent to another component to be processed to determine the integrity of the light-based signals and stability of thesemiconductor light source (i.e., optical power, temperature, and the like). This monitoring is commonly referred to as back-facet monitoring (BFM). The light source facet and the back facet are on opposite sides of each other. Accordingly, placementof the photodetector is opposite side of the semiconductor light source coupled to the optical fiber.

As the form factor of the housing of the optical transponder continues to become smaller, placement of the photodetector in the light path opposite the optical fiber side of the semiconductor light source becomes increasingly difficult due tovarious components included in the housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention is illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings, in which the like references indicate similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an example photonic package, more specifically, an optical transponder, with which an embodiment of the invention may be practiced;

FIG. 2 illustrates indirect monitoring of a semiconductor light source by a photodetector within a photonic package, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; and

FIGS. 3A-3B illustrate indirect monitoring of a semiconductor light source by a photodetector within a photonic package, in accordance with an alternate embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention facilitates indirect monitoring of a semiconductor light source by a photodetector within a photonic package. In the following description, various aspects of the invention will be described. However, one skilled in the relevantart will recognize that the invention may be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, materials, components, etc. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described indetail to avoid obscuring aspects of various embodiments of the invention. Similarly, for purposes of explanation, specific numbers, materials and configurations are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. Nevertheless,the invention may be practiced without the specific details. In other instances, well-known features are omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the invention. Furthermore, it is understood that the various embodiments shown in the figures areillustrative representations and are not necessarily drawn to scale.

Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, material, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of theinvention. Thus, the appearances of the phrases "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment or invention. Furthermore, the particular features,structures, materials, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments.

For the purposes of describing the invention, lightwaves will be illustrated as straight lines. However, one skilled in the relevant art will appreciate that lightwaves may behave as waves or particles. Additionally, certain establishedprinciples of physics will not be described in detail, in particular, derivations of equations such as those describing the behavior of semiconductors and the like will not be described in detail. However, relevant equations will be described but notderived.

Accordingly, the concept of data carried by lightwaves will not be described in detail. However, for the purposes of the invention, the concept of utilizing different wavelengths of lightwaves to carry different data will be referred to indescribing the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example photonic package, more specifically, an optical transponder with which an embodiment of the invention may be practiced. Illustrated in FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portion of the optical transponder, inparticular, a housing 100 of the optical transponder with its cover (shown as ref. 310 in FIG. 3) removed exposing various components of the optical transponder. In the interior of the housing 100 is illustrated a light source 101 having a rectangularshape. The light source may be a semiconductor light source, such as, but not limited to, a Gallium arsenide (GaAs) laser. On one side of the semiconductor light source 101, are optical components, such as but not limited to, focusing lenses 104 forfocusing a first light output of the semiconductor light source 101 to be provided to an optical fiber (not shown). For ease of understanding, this side will be referred to the front side of the semiconductor light source 101. On the opposite side (orthe back side) of the semiconductor light source 101 is a substrate 102 having various components mounted on it. The elevation of the substrate 102 is higher than the semiconductor light source 101. More importantly, substrate 102 is disposed rightnext to semiconductor light source 101, thereby resulting in one of its side surface 105 serving as a "back wall" for the semiconductor light source 101. Further, in accordance with the present invention, side surface or back wall 105 is angularlydisposed, relative to the back light facet of semiconductor light source 101.

For the illustrated embodiment, substrate 102, when viewed from the top, is substantially trapezoidal in shape, with side surface 105 being the surface disposed on an angular side of the trapezoidal substrate 102. In alternate embodiments,substrates of other shapes may be employed, including but not limited to triangle, rectangle, and polygon, so long as the disposition orientation of the substrate results in its surface of the side next to semiconductor light source 101 being angularlydisposed relative to the back light facet of semiconductor light source 101. Further, back wall 105 may be provided by other non-substrate component, to be described in further detail below.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 1, as alluded to earlier, the semiconductor light source 101 is positioned in such a manner as to have a light source facet (front facet) .[.102.]. .Iadd.106 .Iaddend.providing a first output (shown as ref. 202 inFIG. 2). Opposite the front facet .[.102.]. .Iadd.106.Iaddend., the semiconductor light source 101 has a back facet 103 facing towards the back wall 105 providing a second output. As illustrated in FIG. 1, space within a housing of a photonic package,such as the illustrated optical transponder, can be very limited due to various components and form factor requirements (i.e., numerous components while small form factor).

In order to describe the invention, references will be made to an exemplary area 110 & 350 (an area around the semiconductor light source).

FIG. 2 illustrates indirect monitoring of a semiconductor light source by a photodetector within a photonic package, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. Illustrated in FIG. 2 is a view of the exemplary area 110 (shown in FIG.1). In FIG. 2, semiconductor light source 101 provides a first output 201 from the front facet .[.102.]. .Iadd.106.Iaddend.. As alluded to earlier, in FIG. 2, the first output 201 may be directed towards focusing lenses 104 for focusing light to beprovided to the optical fiber (not shown). Also illustrated in FIG. 2 is second output 202 from the back facet 103. Semiconductor light source 101 may be a semiconductor laser, in which case, the first and second outputs 201-202 may each be coherentlaser light. Accordingly, illustrated in FIG. 2, when the second output 202 is incident on the surface or back wall 105 angularly disposed relative to the second output 202, the second output 202 may be reflected by the surface or back wall 105. Theresultant illustrated as reflected light 210. In FIG. 2, the outputs 201-202 and the reflected light 210 are illustrated visually as different lights. However, it should be appreciated by those skilled in the relevant art, that the visual difference isonly for ease of understanding the invention, and does not represent differences in the light.

Illustrated also in FIG. 2 is a photodetector 205 of the photonic package positioned to receive the reflected light from surface or back wall 105, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The photodetector 205 may be a photodiode,such as, but not limited to, p-layer, intrinsic layer, and n-layer (p-i-n) junction photodiode, an Schottky photodiode, or an avalanche photodetector. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the photodetector 205 is positioned in a coordinated manner relative to theangular surface or wall 105, such that it may receive reflected light 210 from the interior surface 105. The reflected light 210 may be received by the photodetector 205 through a window (shown as ref. 331 in FIG. 3) of the photodetector 205. Accordingly, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the window 331 of the photodetector faces angular surface or back wall 105. Additionally, illustrated in FIG. 2, the photodetector 205 is disposed on a tracing 207 to facilitate transmission of electrical signalsoutput by the photodetector 205 responsive to the received reflected light to a processor (not shown). The photodetector 205 is adapted to produce an electrical signal responsive to the reflected light based at least on properties of the photodetector205 such as, but not limited to, spectral responsivity, external quantum efficiency, noise, response time, dark current, and junction capacitance.

For example, the photodetector 205 may be a p-i-n junction photodiode, where spectral responsivity may be expressed as

.times..times. ##EQU00001## In Equation 1, I is amperes of current generated by the photodetector 205, and L is power of incident light, the reflected light 210, measured in watts. R is responsivity in units of amperes per watt. Furthermore,external quantum efficiency of a photodiode is its capability to convert light energy to electrical energy (i.e., electrical signals), and can be expressed as a relation to responsivity as

.function..lamda..function..lamda..times..PHI..function..lamda..times..ti- mes..times..lamda..times..times. ##EQU00002## where EQE (.lamda.) is external quantum efficiency as function of wavelength, I is photocurrent (output current--darkoutput current) as function wavelength, h is Planck's constant, c is velocity of light, .PHI. is input radiant flux (power), n is index of refraction of air, e is elementary charge, and .lamda. is wavelength of light in units of nanometers. Accordingly, the Equation 1 and Equation 2 can be utilized to form the relationship

.function..lamda..times..lamda..times..times. ##EQU00003## where R and .lamda., as defined earlier, are responsivity in units of amperes per watt and wavelength of light in units of nanometers, respectively.

The electrical signals may be provided to the processor wherein the electrical signals may be compared to characterization data. The characterization data may relate electrical signals from the photodetector 205 produced by reflected 210 lightreceived by the photodetector 205 of the first output 201 of the light source 101. For example, referring to FIG. 2, characterization data may be produced by having several data points corresponding to power of light of the first output 201 from thefront facet .[.102.]. .Iadd.106 .Iaddend.as compared to power of light of the reflected light 210. The processor has at least access to the characterization data to facilitating calibration of the reflected light 210 by the photodetector 205. Affects,such as, but not limited to, temperature may also be accounted for during the calibration process. Accordingly, as the processor receives the electrical signals from the photodetector 205, the processor may facilitate adjustments to bias voltages of thephotodetector 205 to ensure proper monitoring of the semiconductor light source 101.

As a result, a photodetector can be adapted to receive light reflected from a surface of a component disposed at the back of the semiconductor light source, housed inside a densely populated housing of an optical transponder, therebyadvantageously monitoring a semiconductor light source from locations other than those that are directly behind the semiconductor light source (i.e., the photodetector is not required to be in direct path of the back output of the semiconductor lightsource).

FIGS. 3A-3B illustrate indirect monitoring of a semiconductor light source by a photodetector of a photonic package, in accordance with an alternate embodiment of the invention. Illustrated in FIG. 3A is a side view 300 of the housing 100(shown in FIG. 1) with its cover 310 covering the various components within the housing 100. Commonly, the cover 310, walls (not shown) and floor (not shown) aids in forming a hermetic seal to prevent outside influences, such as, particulate, humidity,etc. In the alternate embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3A, a reflective mirror surface 301 is provided to deflect the second output 202 from the back facet 103 of the semiconductor light source 101 to an interior surface of the cover 303. Accordingly, thedeflected second output 202 incidences on the interior surface of the cover 303, reflecting off the surface, and forming cover reflected light 305.

In one embodiment, the interior surface of the cover 303 may have a coating to help facilitate cover reflected light 305, such as, but not limited to, paint having a pigment of titanium dioxide (i.e., white paint).I

In one embodiment, the reflective mirror surface 301 may be a highly polished silicon mirror or a dielectric coating. In alternative embodiments, it may be a reflective sheet or stripe.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of the exemplary area 350 illustrating an alternately adapted photodetector to receive light reflected from the interior surface of the cover 303, in accordance with the alternate embodiment of FIG. 3A. Asillustrated in FIG. 3B, the alternately adapted photodetector 320 has it window 331 facing the interior surface of the cover 303 in a coordinated manner to receive the cover reflected light 305.

Alternatively, in one embodiment, the reflective mirror surface 301 may be disposed in such a manner as to reflect the second output 202 from the back facet 103 of the light source 101 to one or more other secondary reflective surfaces, such as,but not limited to, a side wall of horsing (not shown). For these embodiments, the photodetector will be adapted accordingly in a coordinated manner to receive light reflected from the alternate secondary reflective wall by positioning the receivingwindow of the photodetector to face the alternate secondary reflective wall.

As a result, alternate interior surfaces of a housing of an optical transponder may be utilized to provide reflected light to a photodetector adapted to receive the reflected light.

Thus, it can be seen from the above descriptions, a novel method and apparatus for indirect monitoring of a light source by a photodetector, has been described.

The above description of illustrated embodiments of the invention, including what is described in the Abstract, is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. While specific embodiments of, andexamples for, the invention are described herein for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. Thus, the description is to be regarded asillustrative instead of restrictive on the invention.

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