The use of miniaturized optical components for chip level communications is increasing rapidly. The possible applications include: optical switching, signal monitoring, I/O reconfiguration, and add/drop multiplexing. Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS) based on customized IC fabrication processes are being used to assemble system-level architecture for integration into mainstream circuitry. MOEMS devices based on dynamic diffractive elements are currently investigated for both their signal routing capabilities and de-multiplexing properties. These characteristics are expected to increase the speed of optical data transfer. This paper focuses on the current status of the MOEMS research program for Free Space Optical inter-chip communication at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany- SUNY (CNSE) based on the MEMS Compound Grating (MCG) design. Operational characteristics of these MCG devices have been shown to operate at high voltages (>15V) compared to 5V levels prevalent in conventional integrated circuits. The specific goal of this work is to improve performance while minimizing power consumption. A design change that incorporates a higher capacitance and a lighter suspension system has been studied. A new fabrication process has been constructed utilizing Polyimide as a structural material. Fabrication steps have been optimized for best MCG device performance. Experimental results from both research tasks will be presented.
Despite the recent sag in the optical telecom sector, the development and application of Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS)-based devices for optical interconnects continues to expand. The utility of such fundamental research is finding increasing relevance in a variety of technical and commercial areas. This paper will report on the present status of the diffractive and reflective components and arrays that are being developed at the University at Albany’s Institute for Materials (UAIM) NanoFab 200. Selected examples include the current generation of the patented MEMS Compound Grating (MCG) and an innovative micro-scanner device, both of which are being examined for inclusion in prototype interconnect systems.
These devices are based on a dual technology development path which includes decreasing feature size and increasing integration level. The MCG prototypes are currently produced with 1-2 micron feature size in 144 element arrays. The surface topology of these components can be controlled using electrostatic attraction to yield both angular deflection and wavelength separation. The optical and mechanical performance of these devices that use either polysilicon or silicon dioxide as a structural material will be reported. Several prototype MCG array architectures have been interfaced with optical sources including VCSEL arrays to test optical interconnect concepts. In addition, recent work on an innovative micro-scanner will be discussed. The micro-scanner is based on a cantilever design with access electrodes to electrostatically control deflection in multiple planes. Details of the components including simulation, fabrication and initial prototype performance tests will be presented.