Opt. Eng.

Development of micro-electro-mechanical optical scanner

View publication


Rockwell is working on the development of a micro-electro-mechanical optical scanner based on bimorph microactuators. This scanner is lightweight, is small, and has superior scanning performance. The scanner is a low-power (<1 W) device that has large scan angles (≈20 deg) and scan rates in the range of 100 to 2000 Hz. It works for all wavelengths and offers the potential for monolithic integration with both electronics and optics for on-chip signal processing and control. The optical scanner consists of two main components - actuator and mirror - which are fabricated on a silicon cantilever beam. The actuator is comprised of a bimorph layer covered with two metal layers, which function as top and bottom electrodes. The mirror can be as large as 12 mm2 in area, is placed at the end of the cantilever beam, and is designed for maximum optical flatness. The optical efficiency of the device is very high and can exceed 90% on proper metallization of the mirror area. The scan angle is a function of beam thickness, power efficiency of the bimorph, and many other design criteria. Through many improvements in these design parameters, a scan angle greater than 20 deg is expected to be achieved with high yield. © 1997 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.