EHVA: Driving Scalable Photonics Testing Intelligence

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Raphael Dube-Demers, R&D Manager at EXFO, and Co-founder of EHVA, EHVARaphael Dube-Demers, R&D Manager at EXFO, and Co-founder of EHVA
Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) usher in the promise of fast data transmission, high bandwidth, and low power consumption, satiating ever-increasing performance demands and cost pressures experienced by data centers and 5G applications. While PICs are likely to stay at the heart of modernday innovation, the industry still lacks a comprehensive data repository and a testing infrastructure optimized for PICs. EXFO bridges this gap by offering state-of-the-art test stations, software, and ‘testing-as-a-service’ solutions to the booming PIC landscape. Home to a team of industry experts and PIC engineers, EXFO solutions provide the capabilities necessary to aggregate valuable data for the PIC industry. Testing is, after all, done to get a complete picture of what works and what can be improved.

Unlike solutions where PIC scientists can only do partial testing, EXFO’s test stations drill down into every parameter regarding chip performance. Edge, free-space, and surface wire coupling can be done from the initial phase. The test stations are also reconfigurable for many use cases and different optical probes, allowing users to test individual chips and bulk volumes. It supports electro-optical wafers, diced, multi-die, and single-die wafers up to 200 nm. In essence, the testing stations facilitate 'thinking outside the box.'

To facilitate an optimal industry solution, EXFO acquired photonics innovator EHVA in October 2022.
EHVA’s process software suite combines with EXFO’s advanced swept continuous laser scanning technology in customer manufacturing settings to deliver exceptional testing reliability and efficiency, to deliver a fully-automated solution that will help customers avoid production bottlenecks.

EHVA’s software underpins automation and advanced data management tools capable of reading a chip's CAD files. The open-architecture software enables scaling while seamlessly handling component and test definitions, build recipes, bill of tests, analysis, and reporting. Built-in AI-driven predictive tools allow users to reduce redundant actions while performing simultaneous measurements and data analysis. Since the software can do automatic alignments, PIC scientists can effortlessly define tests, own the methodology—crucial for IP development—and compare what they know against the intended action without constraints. It allows them to uncover all metrics necessary for better PIC design for novel technologies.

“EXFO’s solution leveraging EHVA’s software gives real-time recommendations based on previous results to simplify clients' testing flow, enabling us to go beyond testing and provide actionable insights to improve their product," says Raphael Dube- Demers, R&D Manager at EXFO, and co-founder of EHVA.
  • TPR covers the R&D of photonics, optics, pathogen diagnostics, and precision motion systems. We hold a wide range of international patents in our portfolio

With access to these exclusive PIC data, EXFO can create turnkey test services comprising crucial test libraries for fostering collaboration within the photonics community. The approach is essential for informed decision-making when developing new applications. Whether a fabrication for research purposes (developing IP) or a business case, EXFO tailors its onboarding methodologies to suit client needs, enabling custom and complete turnkey test services to speed up R&D and time-to-market.

EXFO is pleased to have acquired EHVA, given that this innovator has already scripted numerous client success stories, including collaborations with biosensor facilities and defense agencies where clients have gained agility and realized costeffective solutions. In the case of one client that was limited to a few parameters like bandwidth and insertion loss, EHVA’s software automated their entire testing process, driving better optical alignment while giving the client a complete view of their PIC chip.

The coming years will continue to witness EXFO disrupt the siloed barriers within this specialized market and drive innovative PIC-based applications of the future.
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Raphael Dube-Demers, R&D Manager at EXFO, and Co-founder of EHVA

EXFO acts as the middle ground bringing together the once-siloed operations of research facilities and foundries that develop the products. This enables them to form an information repository for the fast-growing photonics niche.