Erected mirror optical switch

Patent Number: 6,903,861
Issued: 6/7/2005
Official Filing: View the Complete Patent
Abstract: A microelectromechanical (MEM) optical switching apparatus is disclosed that is based on an erectable mirror which is formed on a rotatable stage using surface micromachining. An electrostatic actuator is also formed on the substrate to rotate the stage and mirror with a high angular precision. The mirror can be erected manually after fabrication of the device and used to redirect an incident light beam at an arbitrary angel and to maintain this state in the absence of any applied electrical power. A 1.times.N optical switch can be formed using a single rotatable mirror. In some embodiments of the present invention, a plurality of rotatable mirrors can be configured so that the stages and mirrors rotate in unison when driven by a single micromotor thereby forming a 2.times.2 optical switch which can be used to switch a pair of incident light beams, or as a building block to form a higher-order optical switch.
Filed: 1/22/2004
Application Number: 10/763,913
Government Interests: STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-NA0003525 awarded by the United States Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration. The Government has certain rights in the invention.