Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date



Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

Source Publication

Proceedings of SPIE 9375, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XIV


There are numerous applications for micromirror arrays seen in our everyday lives. From flat screen televisions and computer monitors, found in nearly every home and office, to advanced military weapon systems and space vehicles, each application bringing with it a unique set of requirements. The microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) industry has researched many ways micromirror actuation can be accomplished and the different constraints on performance each design brings with it. This paper investigates a new “zipper” approach to electrostatically driven micromirrors with the intent of improving duel plane beam steering by coupling large deflection angles, over 30°, and a fast switching speed. To accomplish this, an extreme initial deflection is needed which can be reached using high stress bimorph beams. Currently this requires long beams and high voltage for the electrostatic pull in or slower electrothermal switching. The idea for this “zipper” approach is to stack multiple beams of a much shorter length and allow for the deflection of each beam to be added together in order to reach the required initial deflection height. This design requires much less pull-in voltage because the pull-in of one short beam will in turn reduce the height of the all subsequent beams, making it much easier to actuate. Using modeling and simulation software to characterize operations characteristics, different bimorph cantilever beam configurations are explored in order to optimize the design. These simulations show that this new “zipper” approach increases initial deflection as additional beams are added to the assembly without increasing the actuation voltage.


Published version. Published as a part of Proceedings of SPIE 9375, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XIV, (27 February 2015): 93750Y. DOI. © (2015) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Used with permission.

Ronald A. Coutu was affiliated with the Air Force Institute of Technology at the time of publication.

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