Abstract

We have developed an extremely small integrated microencoder whose sides are less than 1 mm long. It is 1/100 the size of conventional encoders. This microencoder consists of a laser diode, monolithic photodiodes, and fluorinated polyimide waveguides with total internal reflection mirrors. The instrument can measure the relative displacement between a grating scale and the encoder with a resolution of the order of 0.01 µm; it can also determine the direction in which the scale is moving. By using the two beams that were emitted from the two etched mirrors of the laser diode, by monolithic integration of the waveguide and photodiodes, and by fabrication of a step at the edge of the waveguide, we were able to eliminate conventional bulky optical components such as the beam splitter, the quarter-wavelength plate, bulky mirrors, and bulky photodetectors.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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