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Proceedings Paper

Thermally actuated piston micromirror arrays
Author(s): William D. Cowan; Victor M. Bright
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Paper Abstract

This paper reports design and characterization testing of thermally actuated piston micromirror arrays. The micromirrors were fabricated in the DARPA-sponsored MUMPs polysilicon surface micromachining process. The power averaging characteristic of thermal actuation is exploited in a novel line addressing scheme which reduces wiring for an n2 array to 2n wires. Mirror deflections were measured with a microscope laser interferometer system equipped with a vacuum chamber. Data presented includes device uniformity, frequency response, and deflection versus drive power for varied ambient pressure. Initial test results confirm that thermally actuated piston micromirrors offer several advantages over more common electrostatic designs. Thermally actuated micromirrors offer greater deflections at drive voltages compatible with CMOS circuitry. Measured thermal piston micromirror deflection versus drive voltage is nonlinear, but does not exhibit the 'snap through instability' characteristic of electrostatic devices. Operation of thermally actuated devices in rarefied ambient significantly decreases power dissipation. For a given deflection range, the power reduction facilitated by vacuum operation makes large arrays feasible. Frequency response of thermally actuated devices is limited by the ability of the device to dissipate heat, but operation at 1 kHz rates is feasible.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 July 1997
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3131, Optical Scanning Systems: Design and Applications, (7 July 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.277757
Show Author Affiliations
William D. Cowan, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Victor M. Bright, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3131:
Optical Scanning Systems: Design and Applications
Leo Beiser; Stephen F. Sagan, Editor(s)

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