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Integrating Technologies

Optical MEMS

Fundamentals of Micromachining
Dr. Bruce Gale
With special thanks to Dr. Michael McShane

Micro-Optics Categories of Optical MEMS

• Driven by communications industry • Sources
– Couplers, demultiplexers, switches, routers, etc. • Waveguide Optics
– Display technology • Free-Space Optics
• Mostly elements, not complete systems • Transmissive Optics
– Thin-films
• Reflective Optics
– MEMS devices
• Diffractive Optics
– Gratings
– Lasers • Interference-Mode
• Detectors
Sources Semiconductor Lasers
• Thermal Emitters • Pumping usually with DC current (low power)
• Semiconductor Devices • Many wavelengths available
– LEDs • Raw beams are elliptical/wedge shaped, astigmatic
– Laser Diodes • Compact, low input power
• Edge-Emitting • Optical Power
• VCSELs – 0.1-5mW typical
– Note that these devices using microfabrication – HP (to 100 W) available in arrays
techniques, but are not considered MEMS
• Cost
– Easily integrated
– $15-$10,000 (goes ~ with power)
• Polymer Emitters

Micro-Lasers Waveguide Optics

• Planar Waveguides
– Vertical-Cavity • Mixers and Switches
Surface-Emitting Laser • Fiber Alignment
• Tunable through
mirror displacement
Waveguides Ultrafast Laser-written Guides
Waveguides: electromagnetic radiation “guided” via total internal
reflection Laser induces local ∆n

SAM-patterned PMMA waveguides

Integrated Bragg Gratings Bragg Gratings

Bragg Grating: Periodic variation in n results in selective reflection

of wavelengths
MEMS Optical Switches MEMS Optical Switches
• BIG business
Packaged switch
• Lots of investment for communications

Arrays of Mirrors for Switching Arrays of Mirrors for Switching

Motion in all directions

Optical Interconnects Submicron Fiber Probes
• Fiber-space connections via prism
• Fiber-fiber coupling (multiplexing)
Metal-coated tips for near-
field scanning microscopy

Sensor Tips

Free-space Micro-optics “Microjoinery”

Micro-optical benches Transmissive Devices
• Refractive Microlenses
• Filters
• Beamsplitters
• Prisms
• Apertures
• Shutters/Choppers

Microlenses Applications of Refractive Optics

• AKA Lenslets

One-to-one imaging of document Point imaging

Source-to-fiber array Collimation/reimaging

Extrusion Molding of Optics
Hot Pressing/Contactless Molding
Same as macro-analog
polycarbonate, PMMA, polystyrene
Diamond-turned mold (expensive)

D Photoresist-Based Microdispensing
Rc = (n − 1) f =
D=diameter (5-750µm)
L=resist thickness (up to 50µm)
• Microjet directs
droplets to substrate
• Liquid solidifies on
• Surface tension causes
formation of spherical
• 25-100µm diameter
Photosensitive Glass Laser Heating

Exposed glass densifies and squeezes soft

(unexposed) glass → spherical extrema
80-1000µm diameter

Biomimetic Lens Growth Comparison of Microlenses

2-500µm diameters
Highly spherical
Other shapes also possible
Reflective Optics Multilayer Dielectrics
• Reflection Coatings
– Si
Sequential deposition of materials
– Metals Sputtering
– Multilayer Dielectrics Molecular beam epitaxy
• Mirrors
– Single
– Arrays

Mirrors Digital Mirror Displays

• Big push for small,
lightweight, flexible displays
• Texas Instruments DMD
Tunable Filters Diffractive Optics
• Microlenses • Fresnel Zone Plates
projects/porsi/GLammel_porous_Si.ram • Gratings

Porous Silicon Reflector

1100 µm x 1850 µm x 30 µm..
Au tracks on Si3N4 used for
thermal bimorph arms

Direct Writing Gray-Scale Patterning

Approximate the phase of a •Gray-scale masks produced with e-beam writing

spherical lens with a diffracting
surface: use Fresnel-like
structures or “binary optics”

•Micro-Fresnel lenses require

gray-scale exposure and resist
with linear response
•Option 1=Direct-write (beam
Multilevel Patterning Zone plate lens
• Varying fuctions
•“Digitize” the surface – Collimation
•Diffraction efficiency ~ # of – Focusing
levels (N) – Beam Steering
•Eff(N)=|sinc(π/N)|2 (%)
• Fabricated in-plane
• Elevated to vertical
•Sequential exposures and
etching steps employed
•Each subsequent step has
increasing resolution
•Each step produces d/4
•# masks = log2(N)

Gratings Interference-Mode Devices

• Fabry-Perot Interometers
Electrically-tunable diffraction grating
• Mach-Zehnder Interferometers
• Michelson Interferometers
Fabry-Perot Interferometer Fabry-Perot Interferometer

• Actuation moves
d Intensity membrane
• Movement alters
λ optical pathlength
•Change in optical pathlength: • Results in change in
•Refractive index (n)
•Cavity length (d) transmitted “color”
•Changes resonance wavelength 2π nd
(wavelength at which constructive Phase shift φ =
interference occurs) λ

Fabry-Perot Array Waveguide Interferometers

• Optical couplers in
regions of waveguide
• Coupling depends on
relative phase of waves
arriving at coupler
•Arrays used to cover broader • Changes in “arms”
spectral regions produce changes in
•Required due to periodicity of output fringes
Detectors Applications
• Switches
• Spectrometers
• Photodiodes
• Scanners
• µ-bolometers
• Displays

Switches Fabry-Perot Spectrometers

• Temperature change causes

change in refractive index Calculated Response

• Interference between waves

at coupler altered
Dispersive MicroSpectrometers Dispersive MicroSpectrometers

Micromirror Scanners Spatial Light Modulators

• Function: Beam-steering

• Active Matrix Displays: Reflective Light Valves

• Applications
– Efficiently map R-G-B onto screen
– Code-reading
– Imaging • SiO2 spacers define liquid crystal cell gap
– Motion detection
– Precision Machining
Modulator Properties References
• Microoptics Technology, Borelli

• Optics & MEMS, Walker and Nagel

• Fundamentals of Microfabrication

• Many, many, many WWW sites