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SOI based electromagnetic MEMS scanners and their applications in laser systems

Brown, Gordon and Bauer, Ralf and Lubeigt, Walter and Uttamchandani, Deepak G. (2013) SOI based electromagnetic MEMS scanners and their applications in laser systems. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 8616. ISSN 0277-786X

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MEMS scanners are of interest for their potential as low-cost, low operating power devices for use in various photonic systems. The devices reported here are actuated by the electromagnetic force between a static external magnetic field and a current flowing through an SOI MEMS scanner. These scanners have several modes of operation: their mirrors may be rotated and maintained at a static angle (up to ± 1.4 degrees), scanned rapidly (up to 500 Hz); or may be operated in a resonance mode, at the device's mechanical resonance frequency (∼1.2 kHz) for higher rate scanning. The use of these scanners as a Q-switching element within a Nd:YAG laser cavity has been demonstrated. Pulse durations of 400 ns were obtained with a pulse energy of 58 μJ and a pulse peak power of 145 W. The use of an external magnetic field, generated by compact rare-earth magnets, allows a simple and cost-effective commercial fabrication process to be employed (the multi-user SOI process provided by MEMSCAP Inc) and avoids the requirement to deposit magnetic materials on the MEMS structure.