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Silicon photonic MEMS variable optical attenuator
Author(s): Teodoro Graziosi; Hamed Sattari; Tae Joon Seok; Sangyoon Han; Ming C. Wu; Niels Quack
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Paper Abstract

We present a design for an on-chip MEMS-actuated Variable Optical Attenuator (VOA) based on Silicon Photonic MEMS technology. The VOA consists of 30 individual mechanically movable MEMS cantilevers, suspended over an integrated, 1 μm wide bus waveguide, each terminating with two optical attenuation bars. By exploiting the pull-in instability, electrostatic actuation allows to move the individual cantilevers into proximity of the waveguide, leading to scattering of the evanescent field and thus attenuation of the remaining optical power in the waveguide. Electrodes are placed below the cantilevers for electrostatic actuation. Mechanical stoppers are used to avoid contact between the cantilevers and the electrodes and to keep the bars at a precisely defined distance of 60 nm away from the bus waveguide. The attenuator provides nearly zero insertion loss in OFF state, while in ON state, the attenuation range is defined by the number of actuated digital attenuation cantilevers and can be adjusted in discrete increments of only 1.2 dB. Owing to the small size, fast microsecond scale response time can be achieved, and electrostatic MEMS actuation allows for broadband and low-power operation. Our design exhibits a compact footprint of 30 μm × 45 μm, attenuation from 0 dB to 36 dB, while keeping return loss below 27 dB. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first presentation of a design of a VOA in Silicon Photonic MEMS technology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 February 2018
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 10545, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVII, 105450H (22 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2317507
Show Author Affiliations
Teodoro Graziosi, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Hamed Sattari, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Tae Joon Seok, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (Korea, Republic of)
Sangyoon Han, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Korea, Republic of)
Ming C. Wu, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Niels Quack, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10545:
MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVII
Wibool Piyawattanametha; Yong-Hwa Park; Hans Zappe, Editor(s)

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