Deformable MEMS grating for wide tunability and high operating speed
Journal of Optics. A, Pure and applied optics
Diffractive MEMS are interesting for a wide range of applications, including displays, scanners or switching elements. Their advantages are compactness, potentially high actuation speed and in the ability to deflect light at large angles. We have designed and fabricated deformable diffractive MEMS grating to be used as tuning elements for external cavity lasers. The resulting device is compact, has wide tunability and a high operating speed. The initial design is a planar grating where the
... are free-standing and attached to each other using leaf springs. Actuation is achieved through two electrostatic comb drives at either end of the grating. To prevent deformation of the free-standing grating, the device is 10 µm thick made from a Silicon on Insulator (SOI) wafer in a single mask process. At 100V a periodicity tuning of 3% has been measured. The first resonant mode of the grating is measured at 13.8 kHz, allowing high speed actuation. This combination of wide tunability and high operating speed represents state of the art in the domain of tunable MEMS filters. In order to improve diffraction efficiency and to expand the usable wavelength range, a blazed version of the deformable MEMS grating has been designed. A key issue is maintaining the mechanical properties of the original device while providing optically smooth blazed beams. Using a process based on anisotropic KOH etching, blazed gratings have been obtained and preliminary characterization is promising.