Realization and Characterization of MEMS-Based Programmable Slit Mask for Multi-Object Spectroscopy
Multi-object spectroscopy (MOS) is a powerful tool for space and ground-based telescopes for studying the formation of galaxies. This technique requires a programmable slit mask for astronomical object selection. A first sample of MEMS-based programmable reflective slit masks with elements of size 200x100 mu m(2) has been successfully tested in cryogenic conditions at 92 K. Devices of larger size were microfabricated, the largest chip measures 25x22 mm(2) and is composed of 200x100 electrostatic actuated micromirrors. These devices are composed of two chips: the electrode chip and the mirror chip, which are processed separately and assembled consecutively. The mirror chip is bonded on top of the electrode chip and microfabricated pillars on the electrode chip provide the necessary spacing between the two parts. A process flow utilizing refilling techniques based on borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG) deposition and reflow was developed. Programmable reflective slit masks based on this fabrication process were microfabricated and characterized. These devices exhibit a micromirror deformation of 11 nm peak-to-valley and an actuation voltage of 145 V for a tilt angle of 9 degrees. Preparation of samples for MOS experiments are underway.