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.
We report an optical phased array (OPA) for two-dimensional free-space beam steering. The array is composed of tunable MEMS all-pass filters (APFs) based on polysilicon high contrast grating (HCG) mirrors. The cavity length of each APF is voltage controlled via an electrostatically-actuated HCG top mirror and a fixed DBR bottom mirror. The HCG mirrors are composed of only a single layer of polysilicon, achieving >99% reflectivity through the use of a subwavelength grating patterned into the 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 350 nm HCG mirror. Relative to beamsteering 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 APF structure affords large (~2π) phase shift at a small displacement (< 50 nm), an order-of-magnitude smaller than the displacement required in a single-mirror phase-shifter design. Precise control of each all-pass-filter is achieved through an interferometric phase measurement system, and beam steering is demonstrated using binary phase patterns.
We present a single crystalline silicon optical phased array using high-contrast-gratings (HCG) for fast two dimensional
beamforming and beamsteering at 0.5 MHz. Since there are various applications for beamforming and beamsteering
such as 3D imaging, optical communications, and light detection and ranging (LIDAR), it is great interest to develop
ultrafast optical phased arrays. However, the beamsteering speed of optical phased arrays using liquid crystal and
electro-wetting are typically limited to tens of milliseconds. Optical phased arrays using micro-electro-mechanical
systems (MEMS) technologies can operate in the submegahertz range, but generally require metal coatings. The metal
coating unfortunately cause bending of mirrors due to thermally induced stress.
The novel MEMS-based optical phased array presented here consists of electrostatically driven 8 × 8 HCG pixels
fabricated on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer. The HCG mirror is designed to have 99.9% reflectivity at 1550 nm
wavelength without any reflective coating. The size of the HCG mirror is 20 × 20 μm2 and the mass is only 140 pg,
much lighter than traditional MEMS mirrors. Our 8 × 8 optical phased array has a total field of view of ±10° × 10° and a
beam width of 2°. The maximum phase shift regarding the actuation gap defined by a 2 μm buried oxide layer of a SOI
wafer is 1.7π at 20 V.
A novel 8x8 optical phased array based on high-contrast grating (HCG) all-pass filters (APFs) is experimentally demonstrated with high speed beam steering. Highly efficient phase tuning is achieved by micro-electro-mechanical
actuation of the HCG to tune the cavity length of the APFs. Using APF phase-shifters allows a large phase shift with an
actuation range of only tens of nanometers. The ultrathin HCG further ensures a high tuning speed (0.626 MHz). Both one-dimensional and two-dimensional HCGs are demonstrated as the actuation mirrors of the APF arrays with high beam steering performance.