Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Proceedings of SPIE 7208, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems VIII
This paper will investigate a novel thermally actuated micro-shutter design for micro-optical-electro-mechanical system (MOEMS) applications. The use of actuators in optical systems has improved with new developments in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) designs for use as components in optical systems. Thermal actuators provide a novel approach to scaling MOEMS to reduce size, weight and power of optical systems. Through the investigation of an aluminum electro-thermal actuator, we developed an in-house fabrication method which operates at less than one volt to aid in reducing the size, weight, and power of the optical system. This paper discusses several challenges and opportunities that may arise from the fabrication of thermally actuated micro-shutter designs which can help improve the actuator's uniformity, reproducibility, and reliability. In addition, we discuss the characterization of the thermal actuator micro-shutter to include mechanical, electrical and optical properties. The "switching" speed of the thermal actuator will also be assessed from a scaling perspective to determine usability.