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Gimbal-less monolithic silicon actuators for tip-tilt-piston micromirror applications

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3 Author(s)
Milanovic, V. ; Adriatic Res. Inst., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Matus, G.A. ; McCormick, D.T.

In this paper, fully monolithic silicon optical scanners are demonstrated with large static optical beam deflection. The main advantage of the scanners is their high speed of operation for both axes: namely, the actuators allow static two-axis rotation in addition to pistoning of a micromirror without the need for gimbals or specialized isolation technologies. The basic device is actuated by four orthogonally arranged vertical comb-drive rotators etched in the device layer of an silicon-on-insulator wafer, which are coupled by mechanical linkages and mechanical rotation transformers to a central micromirror. The transformers allow larger static rotations of the micromirror from the comb-drive stroke limited rotation of the actuators, with a magnification of up to 3× angle demonstrated. A variety of one-axis and two-axis devices have been successfully fabricated and tested, in all cases with 600-μm-diameter micromirrors. One-axis micromirrors achieve static optical beam deflections of >20° and peak-to-peak resonant scanning of >50° in one example at a resonant frequency of 4447 Hz. Many two-axis devices utilizing four rotators were tested, and exhibit >18° of static optical deflection at <150 V, while their lowest resonant frequencies are above 4.5 kHz for both axes. A device which utilizes only three bidirectional rotators for tip-tilt-piston actuation achieves -10° to 10° of optical deflection in all axes, and exhibits minimum resonant frequencies of 4096 and 1890 Hz for rotation and pistoning, respectively. Finally, we discuss the preliminary results in scaling tip-tilt-piston devices down to 0.4 × 0.4 mm on a side for high fill-factor optical phased arrays. These array elements include bonded low-inertia micromirrors which fully cover the actuators to achieve high fill-factor.

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Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 3 )