Optical EngineeringMicro-opto-electro-mechanical systems
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Micro-optical devices such as diffractive and refractive microlenses fabricated using integrated circuit technology have been highlighted during the past five years. This scientific breakthrough has created a revolution in optical technology. Miniaturizing devices using microoptics promise to revolutionize many electrooptical systems-from video cameras, video phones, and compact disk data storage to robotic vision, optical scanners, and high-definition projection displays. The supporting technologies for these micro-optical systems, such as binary optics and plastic micro-replication, are built on existing or adapted integrated circuit technologies that have been developed over the past five years. In parallel with this optical technology revolution, researchers have also developed another frontier technology called micro-electro-mechanical (MEM). MEM technology has found applications in automotive, machine tools, airbag actuators, and many generic microsensors. Merging microoptics, microelectronics, and micromechanics creates a new and broader class of micro-opto-electro-mechanical (MOEM) devices, which may attract additional industrial demonstrations of commercial devices such as torsional mirrors, laser scanners, optical shutters, and dynamic micromirror displays. Both constituent technologies of MOEM devices have the potential of batch processing and embossed replication, which, again, makes them highly attractive for low-cost commercial applications. Other more complex microsystems that use MOEM devices such as microspectrometers, microinterferometers, and miniature on-machine-inspection subsystems are being investigated. This new technology enables high-performance devices for microsensor systems that are lighter, easier to produce, more efficient, and less expensive than conventional components.