Abstract

We report the design of a monolithic piezoelectrically actuated microelectromechanical tunable vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL). The main advantages of piezoelectric actuation compared with conventional capacitive techniques are improved wavelength control, reduced external and tilt losses, and lower power supply voltages. The details of the piezoelectric actuation scheme for a 980-nm VCSEL with a variable air gap are described. A tuning range of 35nm can theoretically be achieved with a 3-V power supply (2× reduction from that of electrostatic actuation) by use of a 250-μm-long cantilever beam. The proposed actuation mechanism is insensitive to the pull-in phenomenon, therefore improving wavelength control and reducing threshold current. Drastic improvements in power efficiency make it ideal for low-power applications such as all-optical communication, chip-scale atomic clocks, and biological studies.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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