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The insertion of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) components into aerospace systems requires advanced testing to characterize performance in a space environment. Here, we report a novel stroboscopic interferometer test system that measures nanometer-scale displacements of moving MEMS devices. By combining video imagery and phase-shift interferometry with an environmental chamber, rapid visualization of the dynamic device motion under the actual operational conditions can be achieved. The utility of this system is further enhanced by integrating the interferometer onto the chamber window, allowing for robust interferometric testing in a noisy environment without requiring a floating optical table. To demonstrate these unique capabilities, we present the time-resolved images of an electrostatically actuated MEMS cantilevered beam showing the first-order to sixth-order plate modes under vacuum.
Date of Publication: June 2007