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Micromechanical digital-to-analog converter for out-of-plane motion

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4 Author(s)
Guangya Zhou ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Nat. Univ. of Singapore, Singapore ; VJ, Logeeswaran. ; Tay, F.E.H. ; Fook Siong Chau

This paper describes a novel micromechanical digital-to-analog converter (MDAC) for out-of-plane motion using electrostatic parallel-plate actuators. The proposed mechanism converts an N-bit digital signal to a mechanical out-of-plane displacement that is proportional to the analog value represented by the N-bit binary word. The mechanism is analogous to that of an electrical binary-weighted-input digital-to-analog converter (DAC). It consists of a movable platform, an array of parallel-plate microactuators each operating in an ON/OFF mode and a set of connection springs that connect the actuators to the platform. The spring constants of the connection springs are weighted so that the stiffness of successive springs is related by a factor of 2. A 4-bit mechanism has been fabricated using the Poly-MUMPS process, achieving a total stroke of 675 nm (full-scale output) and step size (LSB) of 45 nm in a highly repeatable and stable manner. The linearity error (LE) of the device is within ±0.28 LSB, and the differential linearity error (DLE) is within ±0.25 LSB. This mechanism can be configured for many promising applications, particularly in optical devices and systems such as tunable external cavity diode laser, tunable VCSELs, adaptive micromirror array and tunable wavelength filter.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 5 )