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This letter presents a novel approach to realize a 4 times 4 optical switch. The optical switch consists of a micromachined silicon micromirror array and a bistable mini-actuator array. The micromirror array, which comprises vertical mirrors, cantilevers, and trenches, can be monolithically fabricated by a simple anisotropic silicon etching process in high precision and high yield. The mini-actuator array consists of 16 commercially available bistable actuators integrated with L-shape arms. The advantages of this approach include high precision, easy alignment, high fabrication yield, and low cost. Because of bistable actuation, the power consumption is very low and thus the temperature elevation of a working device is less than 0.3 K. The measured insertion losses of the four channels are between - 1.6 and - 2.3 dB. The measured crosstalk is less than -60 dB, and the measured switching time is about 13 ms.
Date of Publication: Jan.15, 2009