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Erected mirror optical switch

United States Patent

June 7, 2005
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
A microelectromechanical (MEM) optical switching apparatus is disclosed that is based on an erectable mirror which is formed on a rotatable stage using surface micromachining. An electrostatic actuator is also formed on the substrate to rotate the stage and mirror with a high angular precision. The mirror can be erected manually after fabrication of the device and used to redirect an incident light beam at an arbitrary angel and to maintain this state in the absence of any applied electrical power. A 1.times.N optical switch can be formed using a single rotatable mirror. In some embodiments of the present invention, a plurality of rotatable mirrors can be configured so that the stages and mirrors rotate in unison when driven by a single micromotor thereby forming a 2.times.2 optical switch which can be used to switch a pair of incident light beams, or as a building block to form a higher-order optical switch.
Allen; James J. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
10/ 763,913
January 22, 2004
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DEAC-04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.