An analytical model has been developed and applied to explore the limits in the design of a highly miniaturized planar optical microspectrometer based on an imaging diffraction grating. This design tool has been validated as providing the smallest possible dimensions while maintaining acceptable spectral resolution. The resulting planar spectrometer is composed of two parallel glass plates, which contain all components of the device, including a reflective slit and an imaging diffraction grating. Fabrication is based on microelectromechanical system technology and starts with a single glass wafer; IC-compatible deposition and lithography are applied to realize the parts in aluminum, which makes the microspectrometer highly tolerant for component mismatch. The fabricated spectrometer was mounted directly on top of an image sensor and takes up a volume of only . The measured spectral resolution of (FWHM) in the operating wavelength range () is in agreement with a model calculation.
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