20 February 2017 Novel packaging approaches for increased robustness and overall performance of gimbal-less MEMS mirrors
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Proceedings Volume 10116, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVI; 1011607 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253338
Event: SPIE OPTO, 2017, San Francisco, California, United States
Abstract
2D quasistatic (point-to-point) gimbal-less MEMS mirrors enable programmable, arbitrary control of laser beam position and velocity - up to their maximum limits. Hence, they provide the ability to track targets, point lasercom beams, and to scan uniform velocity lines over objects in laser imaging. They are becoming increasingly established in applications including 3D scanning, laser marking and 3D printing, biomedical imaging, communications, and LiDAR. With the increased utility in applications that demand larger mirror sizes and larger overall angle*diameter (θ*D) figures of merit, the technology is continuously pushed against its limit. As a result we have implemented mirrors with larger diameters including 5.0mm, 6.4mm, and 7.5mm, and have designed actuators with larger torque and angles to match the Θ*D demand. While the results have been very positive in certain application cases, a limitation for their more wide-spread use has been the relatively high susceptibility of large- θ*D mirrors to shock and vibrations. On the other hand, one of the challenges of MEMS mirrors of small diameters is their lower optical power tolerance simply due to their smaller area and heat removal ability. Although they can be operated at up to 2-3W of CW laser power, new developments in dynamic solid state lighting in e.g. headlights demand operation at up to 10W or beyond.

In this work we study and present several package-level approaches to increase mechanical damping, shock robustness, and laser power tolerance. Specifically, we study back-filling of MEMS packages with different gases as well as with different (increased) pressures to control damping and in turn increase robustness and useable bandwidth. Additionally, we study the effects of specialized mechanical structures which were designed and fabricated to modify packages to significantly reduce volumes of space around moving structures.

In their standard form and packaging the MEMS mirrors tested in this study typically measure quality factors of 75-100. Increases of pressure up to 50psi have shown relatively modest reductions of the overall quality factor to the 40-50 range. Backfilling of packages with heavier inert gasses such as Ar and SF6 results in lowering of the quality factor down to 20-30 range. Mechanical modifications of the package with special structures and reduced air-gap to the window yielded the best results, reducing the quality factor to ~9-14. Combination of specialized packaging structures and gas backfill and pressure control could provide a very efficient heat transfer from the mirror and the desired near-critical damping, but has not been demonstrated yet. The increased performance does not change the compactness and low power consumption - the improved MEMS mirrors still consume <1mW. So far, designs with mirror sizes through 3.0mm diameter with increased damping have passed 500G shock tests.

In terms of improved heat removal we have found that the packaging improvement greatly increased optical power tolerance of MEMS mirrors from few Watts of CW laser power to <10 Watts. The exact numbers for the upper limit are not yet available - in samples where the heat removing structure was added and air was replaced with Helium, our setup with 3 combined lasers was not able to damage any samples.
Conference Presentation
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Veljko Milanović, Veljko Milanović, Abhishek Kasturi, Abhishek Kasturi, James Yang, James Yang, Yu Roger Su, Yu Roger Su, Frank Hu, Frank Hu, } "Novel packaging approaches for increased robustness and overall performance of gimbal-less MEMS mirrors", Proc. SPIE 10116, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVI, 1011607 (20 February 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2253338; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253338
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