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JANUARY 2018 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 21 roll out of the new piece of capex. But, that said, from a high level, start with a problem in mind. Don't just start with, 'Hey, I need to buy a piece of equipment X, Y, Z.' Start with, 'I've got a problem, A, B, C. How am I going to solve it?'" Finally, Turpin noted that, inasmuch as they want to be tightly integrated with their customers, he hopes that compo- nent manufacturers were as integrated with the automation suppliers. "To make sure that the things they're doing are integrated with the way of properly plac- ing components, cleaning components, inspecting components, things like that." Nargi-Toth says having an open dialogue with customers and sharing roadmapping activities is beneficial to both parties. "Because in doing that, we can use the information we gather from them to help direct our research efforts and it benefits the customers because we are better able to meet their future requirements," she explains. "So, if we do know that sub-1 mil lines and spaces will be a reality in implantable medical devices in the coming years, that's the direction we have to move in. And how we get there becomes an actual research effort on our part before we can even begin to go out and evaluate equipment. First, we must understand how we're going to get there. What's going to be the best way to get there? Can it be done subtractively or do we need to move into additive processing? That's the kind of thinking that keeps us always forward looking." Every company has a roadmap Perhaps, a five- or 10-year plan. This underscores the need for communication in the indus- try, throughout the supply chain. Work- ing closely with both customers and suppliers can provide vision and help determine when and what new equip- ment will be needed for a company's long-term success. SMT007 Researchers Demo Quality Optical Microstructures Using Lithium Niobate Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a technique to fabricate high-performance optical micro- structures using lithium niobate, opening the door to ultra- efficient integrated photonic circuits, quantum photonics, microwave-to-optical conversion and more. The research is published in Optica. "This research challenges the status quo," said Marko Loncar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering at SEAS and senior author of the paper. "We demonstrated that you can fabricate high-quality lithium niobate devices—with ultralow loss and high optical confinement—using the conven - tional microfabrication processes." Most conventional optical microstructures are made using processes of chemical or mechanical etching. But lithium niobate is chemically inert, meaning that chemical etching is off the table. But the Loncar lab—which is known for their diamond work—has experience with tough materials. Draw - ing on that expertise with diamonds, the team used standard plasma et ching to physically sculpt microresonators in thin lithium niobate films provided by the company NANOLN. The researchers demonstrated that the nanowaveguides could propagate light across a meter-length path while losing only about half their optical power. In comparison, light prop - agating in the previous lithium niobate devices would lose at least 99 percent of light over the same distance. The researchers aim to build on these results and develop lithium niobate platform for a wide range of applications includ- ing optical communication, quantum computation and commu- nication and microwave photonics. The research opens the door to manufacturing ultra-efficient integrated photonic circuits, quantum photonics, and more.

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