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In this paper, we illustrate the design and testing of new silicon microstructures, fabricated by means of a conventional planar process. These "Venetian-blind" structures consist of arrays of narrow, rectangular suspended masses (width =31 μm, length =400 μm, thickness =15 μm), which can be tilted using electrostatic actuation. Characterization of their static and dynamic behavior was performed with optical methods. The diffraction patterns in monochromatic light were analyzed and vibration measurements were performed by means of semiconductor laser feedback interferometry: experimental data on the tilt angle as a function of the applied voltage and on the resonance frequencies are reported. A maximum tilt angle of approximately 1.9° was obtained with a driving voltage in the range of 70-95 V. All the tested devices showed resonance frequencies higher than 80 kHz, which is fast enough (i.e., switching time in the millisecond range) for future use in optical interconnections. Numerical analyses were performed to evaluate the coupled electromechanical behavior of the microstructures, confirming the observed experimental behavior.
Date of Publication: June 2006