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25 May 2016 Novel fluidic packaging of gimbal-less MEMS mirrors for increased optical resolution and overall performance
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Gimbal-less two-axis quasistatic MEMS mirrors have the ability to reflect optical beams to arbitrary positions and with arbitrary velocity. This technology has become established in many applications including laser based tracking, 3D scanning, biomedical imaging, free-space communication, and LiDAR. However, for certain defense applications, the total angle × diameter product, or the mirror’s effective achievable resolution (θ*D product), has not been large enough to address requirements for agile steering in large fields of regard and with a low diffraction-limited beam divergence. Two key limitations have been the relatively low forces available in electrostatic combdrive actuators and the susceptibility of large-diameter MEMS mirrors to shock and vibrations. In this work, we demonstrate that these same MEMS mirrors can have dramatically increased performance when fully immersed and packaged in dielectric liquids with highly favorable torque-increasing, damping-increasing, and optical gain-increasing properties. The rotating electrostatic combdrive has its torque multiplied by liquid’s relative permittivity of ~2.5. Furthermore, by selecting the appropriate fluid viscosity, quality factor of the device is reduced and structural damping is tuned to near critical damping. Finally, the increased scan angle due to the ~1.5-1.7 index of refraction of the fluid is an additional benefit. These numerous benefits of the fluidic packaging enabled us to double and in some cases triple the previously achieved θ*D product of two-axis quasistatic MEMS mirrors while still maintaining speeds applicable for above mentioned applications. One of the most exciting benefits of the packaging methodologies is that the damping dramatically increases shock and vibration tolerance, which will be tested next.
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Veljko Milanovic, Abhishek Kasturi, and James Yang "Novel fluidic packaging of gimbal-less MEMS mirrors for increased optical resolution and overall performance", Proc. SPIE 9836, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VIII, 98362Z (25 May 2016);

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