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Proceedings Paper

Vertical Cantilever Beams For Optical Switching
Author(s): J. N. Shepherd; P. S. Dobson; I. W. Stanley
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Paper Abstract

The feasibility of using micromechanical silicon cantilever beams for optical switching is under examination. These devices are easy to interface to optical fibres and could easily incorporate monitoring circuitry. They potentially offer several advantages over solid state electro-optical devices including small size, low fabrication cost and compatibility in size with optical fibres. In addition, control and monitoring coula readily be incorporated on the same chip, perhaps exploiting the anisotropic etching feature to further advantage. Their speed limitation is not a disadvantage in applications where the determining factor is the initial setting up time for the connection. This investigation has been concerned with the design and fabrication of vertical beams in (110) silicon wafers. The present work is aimed at evaluating silicon technology to assess the feasibility and define the parameters for an optical switch design. A numerical simulation of the deflection and damping characteristics of the beam has been carriea out and has identified a range of design parameters which could be useful for optical switching. A range of devices having a first resonant frequency of >5kHz and a beam deflection of ~20μm have been designed. The fabrication procedure employs conventional silicon planar technology to define the beam geometry on (110) wafers. The structures are etched using electrochemically controlled ethylene-diamine as an anisotropic etchant. The fabrication of these vertical beams involves a combination of micromaching and silicon planar technology to align the beams accurately along <112> directions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 January 1987
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 0803, Micromachining of Elements with Optical and Other Submicrometer Dimensional and Surface Specifications, (11 January 1987); doi: 10.1117/12.941271
Show Author Affiliations
J. N. Shepherd, University of Birmingham (UK)
P. S. Dobson, University of Birmingham (UK)
I. W. Stanley, British Telecom (UK)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0803:
Micromachining of Elements with Optical and Other Submicrometer Dimensional and Surface Specifications
Manfred Weck, Editor(s)

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