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.