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Latching micromagnetic optical switch

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2 Author(s)
Zhilin Huang ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ, USA ; Shen, Jun

In this paper, we report a new type of latching micromagnetic optical switch. The key component of this optical switch is a cantilever made of soft magnetic material with a reflective surface serving as a mirror. The cantilever has two stable positions, therefore two stable states for the device, with presence of an external magnetic field. Input optical signal to the device is switched selectively to one of the two output ports when the device transitions between the two states upon short electromagnetic actuations. The optical switch is bistable because the cantilever has a tendency to align with the external magnetic field, and the torque to align the cantilever can be bidirectional depending on the angle between the cantilever and the magnetic field. Switching between the two stable states is accomplished by momentarily changing the direction and/or the magnitude of the cantilever's magnetization by passing a short current pulse through a planar coil underneath the cantilever. In either of its stable state, the cantilever is held in position by the combined influence of the static external magnetic field and mechanical force, such as from a physical stopper or a mechanical torque produced by the torsion flexures supporting the cantilever. Stable vertical position for the cantilever is obtained by using a tilted external magnetic field. When the cantilever mirror is at this UP state, light is reflected to the desired output port. Large angle deflection and bistable latching operations have been demonstrated. The measured mechanical switching speed between the two states of the prototype is 3.2 ms. Optical insertion loss is -4 dB, and the energy consumption is 44 mJ for each switching event.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 1 )