Abstract

A modulating corner-cube reflector with one microelectromechanical-system (MEMS) mirror that deforms from a flat into a hexagonal array of concave reflective microlenses to disperse the retroreflected wavefront is demonstrated. It is shown that such retromodulators can operate under a wide range of wavelength and angle illumination using Huygens-Fresnel propagation analysis, and this analysis is verified using devices fabricated by surface micromachining. A gold-coated silicon-nitride membrane suspended over 1-mm-diameter circular cavities had a resonant frequency of 160 kHz and 0.55-µm maximum deformation with 79 V applied. While this deflection was only 2/3 of the design value of 0.8 µm, we measured an up to 7:1 modulation contrast ratio from a prototype retromodulator, which achieved 100-kHz modulation over a 100-nm optical bandwidth, a 35 ° range of incident angles, and temperatures ranging from 20 to 100 °C.

© 2006 IEEE

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Other (9)

L. Zhou, J. M. Kahn and K. S. J. Pister, "Corner-cube retroreflectors based on structure-assisted assembly for free-space optical communication", J. Microelectromech. Syst., vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 233-242, Jun. 2003.

D. Pedersen and O. Solgaard, "Free space communication link using a grating light modulator", Sens. Actuators A, Phys., vol. 83, no. 1-3, pp. 6-10, May 2000.

J. A. Walker, K. W. Goossen and S. C. Arney, "Fabrication of a mechanical antireflection switch for fiber-to-the-home systems", J. Microelectromech. Syst., vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 45-51, Mar. 1996.

J. E. Ford, J. A. Walker, D. S. Greywall and K. W. Goossen, "Micromechanical fiber optic attenuator with 4 µs response", J. Lightw. Technol., vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 1663-1670, Sep. 1998.

D. S. Greywall, P. A. Busch and J. A. Walker, "Phenomenological model for gas-damping of micromechanical structures", Sens. Actuators A, Phys., vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 49-70, Jan. 1999.

G. C. Gilbreath, et al. "Progress in development of multiple-quantum-well retromodulators for free-space data links", Opt. Eng., vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 1611-1617, Jun. 2003.

C. Luo and K. W. Goossen, "Optical microelectromechanical system array for free-space retrocommunication", IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett., vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 2045-2047, Sep. 2004.

J. Ford and J. Walker, "Technique for modulating optical signals in optical communications", U.S. Patent 5 796 880, Aug. <day>18</day>, 1998.

S. Sakarya, G. Vdovin and P. Sarro, "Micromachined SLM based on pixelated reflective membranes", in SPIE Proc., vol. 3760, Denver, CO, 1999, pp. 23-31.

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