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Advantest Develops New Optical-Electrical Printed Circuit Board Technology for Up to 160 Gigabit per Second Data Transfer


- towards industry-leading 40 gigabit per second high-speed test systems -

TOKYO, Japan - Advantest Corporation (TSE: 6857, NYSE: ATE), the world’s leading supplier of semiconductor test equipment, today announces its newly-developed optical-electrical printed circuit board technology, which enables up to 160 gigabit per second, high-volume data transfer using optical waveguide technology with per channel transmission rates of 40 gigabit per second. This is a six-fold enhancement on the company’s current capabilities. Advantest aims to use the technology in practical applications in three years time.
Incorporating this new technology into its semiconductor test systems will enable Advantest to offer 40 gigabit per second high-speed device test which, as the situation stands currently, would represent the industry’s fastest test speed.

Addressing High-Volume Data Transfer Requirements with New Technology

Since before the widespread implementation of broadband, demand has been rising for servers, laptops and other computer equipment to process high-volume data, such as video and audio files, at faster speeds. The speed and density of the microprocessor units (MPUs), and other semiconductors that these devices rely on for functionality, is also constantly increasing.
Advantest predicted that the information-processing equipment of the future would use high-speed semiconductors with data transfer rates exceeding 10 gigabits per second and with tens to hundreds of channels. As such, Advantest Laboratories, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Advantest Corporation, embarked on the development of new circuit board technology that would enable higher speed, higher density semiconductor test systems.

Optical-Electrical Printed Circuit Board Development

Based on the company’s existing high-speed, high-density circuit boards, Advantest’s new optical-electrical printed circuit board also employs Advantest Laboratories’ optical waveguide design and mounting technology, as well as its optical fiber laser, high-speed waveform evaluation technology. The endeavor, a joint development with Advanced Photonics, Inc., will lead to faster semiconductor test systems with higher packaging densities.

Advantest’s Optical-Electrical Printed Circuit Board
(FR-4 10-layer board, 300mm x 250mm in size)
There are four optical waveguide channels totaling 32cm in length between A and B. Transmission loss is low, at less than 4 decibels (at a wavelength of 850 nanometers).

Key Features

1) 40 Gigabit per Second High-Speed Data Transmission
- a Six-Fold Enhancement on Current Capabilities
Special consideration is given when selecting epoxy resin material for the waveguide’s core (which carries the optical signal) and its cladding (which confines the light to the core). By ensuring a suitably low relative refractive index difference, modal dispersion (fluctuation in the optical transmission speed) is curbed. As a result, the company has succeeded in attaining a frequency bandwidth of 75 gigahertz for a one-meter optical waveguide, enabling one waveguide to transmit 40 gigabits per second. The prototype optical-electrical printed circuit board uses four optical waveguides, meaning data transfer speeds of up to 160 gigabits per second.

2) Higher Density Mounting and Wiring on Optical-Electrical Printed Circuit Board
Compared to electrical signals, optical signals are significantly less susceptible to electromagnetic interference. This means that the optical waveguides can be mounted much closer together, thus enabling a higher density of data transmission routes. In addition, the optical waveguides on the newly-developed optical-electrical printed circuit board are embedded within the circuit board itself, freeing the top and bottom of the board for the mounting of electrical components, and improving mounting density further.

3) Electrical Connection and Waveguide Coexistence for Higher Density Mounting and Wiring
Conventionally, the materials used in waveguides are acrylic and polyimide resins. As these materials have different properties to the epoxy resins used in printed circuit boards, adhesion difficulties and differing thermal expansion rates can cause parts to peel away from each other or electrical connections to be damaged during lamination. By using epoxy resin for the waveguides, the problem is solved and both optical and electrical members can be mounted together. Temperature cycle tests carried out at Advantest revealed high levels of reliability, meaning fewer constraints in the wiring process and a printed circuit board with higher density mounting and wiring capabilities.

Note: All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change without warning.

About Advanced Photonics, Inc.
Advanced Photonics, Inc. is a venture capital company originating from the University of Tokyo and was established in March 2006. Its main line of business is the development, design, manufacture and sale of high-speed, high-density optical-electrical printed circuit boards. More information is available at

About Advantest
Advantest Corporation is the world’s leading automatic test equipment supplier to the semiconductor industry, and also produces electronic instruments and systems. A global company, Advantest has long offered total ATE solutions, and serves the industry in every component of semiconductor test: tester, handler, mechanical and electrical interfaces, and software. Its logic, memory, mixed-signal and RF testers and device handlers are integrated into the most advanced semiconductor production lines in the world. Founded in Tokyo in 1954, Advantest established its first subsidiary in 1982, in the USA, and now has subsidiaries worldwide. Among them, Advantest America, Inc. is based in Santa Clara, CA., Advantest (Europe) GmbH is based in Munich, Germany, and Advantest Taiwan Inc. is based in Hsinchu, Taiwan. More information is available at


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