7 March 2014 High-speed 32×32 MEMS optical phased array
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Optical phased arrays (OPAs) with fast response time are of great interest for various applications such as displays, free space optical communications, and lidar. Existing liquid crystal OPAs have millisecond response time and small beam steering angle. Here, we report on a novel 32×32 MEMS OPA with fast response time (<4 microseconds), large field of view (±2°), and narrow beam divergence (0.1°). The OPA is composed of high-contrast grating (HCG) mirrors which function as phase shifters. Relative to beam steering systems based on a single rotating MEMS mirror, which are typically limited to bandwidths below 50 kHz, the MEMS OPA described here has the advantage of greatly reduced mass and therefore achieves a bandwidth over 500 kHz. The OPA is fabricated using deep UV lithography to create submicron mechanical springs and electrical interconnects, enabling a high (85%) fill-factor. Each HCG mirror is composed of only a single layer of polysilicon and achieves >99% reflectivity through the use of a subwavelength grating patterned into the mirror’s polysilicon surface. Conventional metal-coated MEMS mirrors must be thick (1- 50 μm) to prevent warpage arising from thermal and residual stress. The single material construction used here results in a high degree of flatness even in a thin 400 nm HCG mirror. Beam steering is demonstrated using binary phase patterns and is accomplished with the help of a closed-loop phase control system based on a phase-shifting interferometer that provides in-situ measurement of the phase shift of each mirror in the array.
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Mischa Megens, Mischa Megens, Byung-Wook Yoo, Byung-Wook Yoo, Trevor Chan, Trevor Chan, Weijian Yang, Weijian Yang, Tianbo Sun, Tianbo Sun, Connie J. Chang-Hasnain, Connie J. Chang-Hasnain, Ming C. Wu, Ming C. Wu, David A. Horsley, David A. Horsley, "High-speed 32×32 MEMS optical phased array", Proc. SPIE 8977, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XIII, 89770H (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2044197; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2044197

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