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Proceedings Paper

Micromachined variable optical attenuator (VOA)
Author(s): J. Li; Xu Ming Zhang; Ai Qun Liu; Q.X Zhang; Ting Mei
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Paper Abstract

Variable optical attenuator (VOA) is undergoing to be a mainstream component of wavelength division multiplex (WDM) networks to monitor and control the optical power of wavelength channels. In this paper, a free-space VOA fabricated by micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to operate in the 1.55 micrometers wavelength region is described. It employs a micromirror driven by an electrostatic comb drive to cut partially into the light beam between two single mode fibers (SMFs), enabling the attenuation. The micromirror has a size of 30 micrometers X 30 micrometers and is coated with aluminum to increase the reflectance. The moving fingers of comb drive and the micromirror are supported by folded suspension beams over the substrate. By applying different voltage to the comb drive, the micromirror translates to different position to achieve an attenuation ranging from 0.4dB to 50dB, and even higher. The nonlinear relationship between the position of the micromirror and attenuation is analyzed. The distributions of the light beams at the micromirror and the output fiber end are investigated respectively. And the influence of the separations between the micromirror, the input and output fiber ends is also discussed to obtain different attenuation resolutions. At low attenuation stages, fine tuning of attenuation is obtainable. The largest attenuation is driven by 21voltage. Deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) process is employed to fabricate the VOA and the micro loading effect is remedied by mask design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 2001
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4582, Optical Switching and Optical Interconnection, (18 October 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.445084
Show Author Affiliations
J. Li, Nanyang Technological Univ. (Singapore)
Xu Ming Zhang, Nanyang Technological Univ. (Singapore)
Ai Qun Liu, Nanyang Technological Univ. (Singapore)
Q.X Zhang, Institute of Microelectronics (Singapore)
Ting Mei, Nanyang Technological Univ. (Singapore)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4582:
Optical Switching and Optical Interconnection
Lih-Yuan Lin; Shulian Zhang, Editor(s)

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