Precision Optical Control with Micromirror Array

Tuesday, July 11 2:00pm

We present a high-speed, large range, precision micromirror array intended to provide combined beam-steering and adaptive optics on a single chip.  Present MEMS devices are generally limited by their flexure design to low range-bandwidth and offer poor stability, so have seen limited use in high performance optics.  We have solved this with advanced flexure and actuator design which can offer a >10x higher range-bandwidth product with closed loop integrated sensing for precision operation.  This work introduces a high fill-factor (>99%) micromirror array (MMA) that consists of 1mm2 hexagonal mirrors that each independently achieve continuous, closed-loop control of three degrees of freedom (DOFs)—tip, tilt, and piston—over large ranges (>±10° rotation and >±30μm translation) at high speeds (~40kHz for a 1° amplitude of rotational oscillation).  This enables smaller, faster optical designs like compact laser communications, focusable LIDAR for drones and autonomous vehicles, and broad-spectrum ultrafast optical switching.  The large range, high bandwidth and precision control capabilities of the micromirror array offer the potential for re-envisioning how next generation lidar systems can operate.  This includes i) frame stabilization feedback to ensure clean images even during rapid maneuvering, ii) all-weather capability via multi-spectral parallel optics onto the array to capture usable images in all conditions, iii) focusable imaging to collect just the data of value, and iv) multimodal operation to switch between scanning at different aspect ratios or lock-in to an object for precise state knowledge.


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