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23 February 2005 Microshutter array development for the James Webb space telescope
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Micro Electromechanical System (MEMS) microshutter arrays are being developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for use as a field selector of the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The microshutter arrays are designed for the spontaneous selection of a large number of objects in the sky and the transmission of light to the NIRSpec detector with high contrast. The JWST environment requires cryogenic operation at 35 K. Microshutter arrays are fabricated out of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) silicon wafers. Arrays are close-packed silicon nitride membranes with a pixel size of 100 x 200 μm. Individual shutters are patterned with a torsion flexure permitting shutters to open 90 degrees with a minimized mechanical stress concentration. Light shields are processed for blocking light from gaps between shutters and frames. The mechanical shutter arrays are fabricated using MEMS technologies. The processing includes multi-layer metal depositions, the patterning of magnetic stripes and shutter electrodes, a reactive ion etching (RIE) to form shutters out of the nitride membrane, an anisotropic back-etch for wafer thinning, followed by a deep RIE (DRIE) back-etch to form mechanical supporting grids and release shutters from the silicon substrate. An additional metal deposition is used to form back electrodes. Shutters are actuated by a magnetic force and latched using an electrostatic force. Optical tests, addressing tests, and life tests are conducted to evaluate the performance and the reliability of microshutter arrays.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

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