Journal article

Applications of SOI-based optical MEMS

After microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices have been well established, components of higher complexity are now developed. Particularly, the combination with optical components has been very successful and have led to optical MEMS. The technology of choice for us is the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, which has also been successfully used by other groups. The applications presented here give an overview over what is possible with this technology. In particular, we demonstrate four completely different devices: a) a 2 × 2 optical cross connector (OXC) with an insertion loss of about 0.4 dB at a switching time of 500 μs and its extension to a 4 × 4 OXC, b) a variable optical attenuators (VOA), which has an attenuation range of more than 50 dB, c) a Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS) with a spectral resolution of 6 nm in the visible, and d) an accelerometer with optical readout that achieves a linear dynamic range of 40 dB over ±6 g. Except for the FTS, all the applications utilized optical fibers, which are held and self-aligned within the MEMS component by U-grooves and small leaf springs. All devices show high reliability and a very low power consumption.

Related material