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Optical and mechanical performance of a novel magnetically actuated MEMS-based optical switch

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9 Author(s)
Horsley, D.A. ; Dept. of Mech. & Aeronaut. Eng., California Univ., USA ; Davis, W.O. ; Hogan, K.J. ; Hart, M.R.
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A novel magnetically actuated 8×8-port MEMS-based fiber-optic switch is described. Fiber-to-fiber insertion loss measurements of six 8×8 switch units show average and worst-case insertion loss of 1.3 dB and 2 dB, respectively. Low insertion loss is achieved through a unique MEMS design that uses anisotropically etched single-crystal silicon sidewalls to provide a global mechanical alignment stop for an array of MEMS mirrors. This alignment surface produces a uniform and repeatable mirror angle across the mirror array. Mirror misalignment is attributed to the surface roughness of the silicon sidewalls. Repeated interferometric measurements of the mirrors of 24 8×8 switch units show repeatability of the mirror angle of 3×10-3 degrees, while the uniformity of the mirror angle across the MEMS array is 2×10-2 degrees, in agreement with the angular error predicted from measurements of sidewall surface roughness. In turn, the average repeatability and uniformity of the insertion loss are 0.01 dB and 1 dB, respectively, in agreement with predictions based on the interferometric measurements. Finally, the unique dynamics of the magnetic actuation and electrostatic addressing scheme are described. Measurements show that fast switching can be achieved by driving the mirrors with a magnetic pulse that is faster than the mechanical resonant frequency of the mirror, relying on an electrostatic clamping force to capture the mirror as it overshoots the magnetic field angle. This actuation scheme is shown to result in switching times of 8.5 ms to 13.5 ms, but requires accurate control of the kinetic energy of the mirror.

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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 2 )