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We report the design, fabrication, and successful demonstration of microelectromechanical variable optical attenuator (VOA) using an electrostatic microtorsion mirror (0.6 mm in diameter) combined with a fiber-optic collimator. The VOA operates at low voltages (dc 5 V or less) for large optical attenuation (40 dB, corresponding to mirror angle of 0.3°) and a fast response time (5 ms or faster). The mirror made of a bulk-micromachined silicon-on-insulator wafer has been designed to be shock resistant up to 500 G without any mechanical failure. We also have suppressed temperature dependence of optical performance to be less than ±0.5 dB at 10-dB attenuation in the range of -5°C-70°C by mechanically decoupling the parasitic bimorph effect from the electrostatic operation.
Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of (Volume:10 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: May-June 2004