Spring 2014 IAB & Research Review
March 5 - 6

Prof. David A. Horsley

Optical Beamsteering Using a MEMS Optical Phased Array

We report an optical phased array (OPA) for two-dimensional free-space beam steering. The array is composed of tunable MEMS all-pass filters (APFs) based on polysilicon high contrast grating (HCG) mirrors. The cavity length of each APF is voltage controlled via an electrostatically-actuated HCG top mirror and a fixed DBR bottom mirror. The HCG mirrors are composed of only a single layer of polysilicon, achieving >99% reflectivity through the use of a subwavelength grating patterned into the polysilicon surface. The single material construction used here results in a high degree of flatness even in a thin 300 nm HCG mirror. Relative to beamsteering systems based on a single rotating MEMS mirror, which are typically limited to bandwidths below 50 kHz, the MEMS OPA described here has the advantage of greatly reduced mass and therefore achieves a bandwidth over 500 kHz. The APF structure affords large (~2 pi) phase shift at a small displacement (< 50 nm), an order-of-magnitude smaller than the displacement required in a single-mirror phase-shifter design. Beamsteering is demonstrated using both binary and analog phase patterns and is accomplished with the help of a closed-loop phase control system based on a phase-shifting interferometer that provides in-situ measurement of the phase shift of each APF in the array.