20 October 2004 Development, test, and evaluation of MEMS micromirrors for free-space optical communications
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Abstract
MEMX Corporation in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) has developed micro-mirror technology applicable to free-space multi-access optical communications terminals. Based on their previously developed micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) optical switches, these new units are being evaluated for applications on spacecraft. These devices must operate within very accurate digitally-controlled pointing and tracking subsystems, which are an essential adjunct to the long-haul optical communication channels that would be operated potentially from geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) to ground. For such spacecraft applications high-powered laser diodes are likely be the required transmitter. Coupled with their potential operation in a vacuum or at partial atmospheric pressures, MEMS mirror shape stability and fabrication tolerances are of key concern to a system designer. To this end we have measured the performance of preliminary micro-mirror units in terms of angular jitter, focal spot stability, and open and closed-loop response versus laser transmitter power in both ambient air and at low partial pressures. We will describe the fabrication process as well as the experimental test configurations and results in the context of optical beamsteering. We will also discuss the applicability and scalability of this technology to multi-access terminals.
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Jeffry J. Sniegowski, Jeffry J. Sniegowski, Steven M. Rodgers, Steven M. Rodgers, Bradley G. Boone, Bradley G. Boone, Jonathan R. Bruzzi, Jonathan R. Bruzzi, Chris W. Drabenstadt, Chris W. Drabenstadt, Bernard E. Kluga, Bernard E. Kluga, Eric W. Rogala, Eric W. Rogala, Robert Osiander, Robert Osiander, Keith J. Rebello, Keith J. Rebello, Margaret A.G. Darrin, Margaret A.G. Darrin, } "Development, test, and evaluation of MEMS micromirrors for free-space optical communications", Proc. SPIE 5550, Free-Space Laser Communications IV, (20 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.562819; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.562819
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