Aligning Optical Fibers by Means of Actuated MEMS Wedges
- Thursday, 07 June 2007
Wedges would be fabricated using gray-scale exposure of photoresist.
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) of a proposed type would be designed and fabricated to effect lateral and vertical alignment of optical fibers with respect to optical, electro-optical, optoelectronic, and/or photonic devices on integrated circuit chips and similar monolithic device structures. A MEMS device of this type would consist of a pair of oppositely sloped alignment wedges attached to linear actuators that would translate the wedges in the plane of a substrate, causing an optical fiber in contact with the sloping wedge surfaces to undergo various displacements parallel and perpendicular to the plane. In making it possible to accurately align optical fibers individually during the packaging stages of fabrication of the affected devices, this MEMS device would also make it possible to relax tolerances in other stages of fabrication, thereby potentially reducing costs and increasing yields.
In this gray-scale-based approach, subtle changes could be made in fabrication processes to tailor the angles and linear dimensions of the wedges in order to tailor the displacement characteristics. This gray-scale approach could also be exploited to modify actuator characteristics by, for example, altering suspension geometries or profiles of capacitive surfaces.
This work was done by Brian Morgan and Reza Ghodssi of the University of Maryland as part of a joint activity among the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the Laboratory for Physical Sciences, and Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286-5810. GSC-14959-1