With a trend towards the use of spectroscopic systems in various fields of science and industry, there is an increasing
demand for compact spectrometers. For UV/VIS to the shortwave near-infrared spectral range, compact hand-held
polychromator type devices are widely used and have replaced larger conventional instruments in many applications.
Still, for longer wavelengths this type of compact spectrometers is lacking suitable and affordable detector arrays. In
perennial development Carinthian Tech Research AG together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems
endeavor to close this gap by developing spectrometer systems based on photonic MEMS. Here, we review on two
different spectrometer developments, a scanning grating spectrometer working in the NIR and a FT-spectrometer
accessing the mid-IR range up to 14 μm. Both systems are using photonic MEMS devices actuated by in-plane comb
drive structures. This principle allows for high mechanical amplitudes at low driving voltages but results in gratings
respectively mirrors oscillating harmonically. Both systems feature special MEMS structures as well as aspects in terms
of system integration which shall tease out the best possible overall performance on the basis of this technology.
However, the advantages of MEMS as enabling technology for high scanning speed, miniaturization, energy efficiency,
etc. are pointed out. Whereas the scanning grating spectrometer has already evolved to a product for the point of sale
analysis of traditional Chinese medicine products, the purpose of the FT-spectrometer as presented is to demonstrate
what is achievable in terms of performance. Current developments topics address MEMS packaging issues towards long
term stability, further miniaturization and usability.