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Optimization of Diffractive MEMS for Optical Switching

J. Verheggen, G. Panaman, W. Khan Raja and J. Castracane
University at Albany, SUNY, US

MOEMS, diffraction gratings, optical interconnect, mems compound grating, free space optical communication, diffractive MEMS

Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS) have found many applications in the fields of communication, spectroscopy, and displays. MOEMS devices based on dynamic diffractive elements are currently investigated at CNSE. The possible applications include: optical switching, signal monitoring, I/O reconfiguration, and add/drop multiplexing. These characteristics are expected to increase the speed of optical interconnects through the ability to reconfigure the I/O fabric. MOEMS devices based on customized IC fabrication processes are being used to assemble system-level architecture for integration into mainstream circuitry.
Operational characteristics of these MEMS Compound Grating (MCG) devices have been shown to operate at high voltages (>15V) compared to 5V levels prevalent in conventional integrated circuits. The specific goal of this work is to improve performance while minimizing the power consumption. A design change that incorporates a higher capacitance and a lighter suspension system has been studied. A new fabrication process has been constructed utilizing Polyimide as a structural material. Fabrication steps have been optimized for best MCG device performance. Simulation and experimental results from both research tasks are presented.

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