Micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems technology and its impact on photonic applications
Light and electricity are two major sources leading technology advances into the future. Micro-opto-electro-mechanical-systems (MOEMS) devices combine these two sources in an ideal manner: they are electronically addressable devices comprising optical elements to modulate light temporally and/or spatially. Further, MOEMS devices take advantage of high integration density, high reliability, high bandwidth, and low cost fabrication for mass production. While in some cases MOEMS technology focuses on the replacement of conventional devices, the majority of developments uses the unique potential of this technology to create devices based on novel principles with extended or even new functionality for advanced applications. Products based on MOEMS technology have already entered or are only a few steps away from entering the market in various fields, e.g., in consumer, information, and communication technology, medicine, biology, and metrology. This work gives an overview of MOEMS development activities with special emphasis on devices for light beam deflection and modulation. Single micromirrors, e.g., for scanning or laser beam positioning, are also presented and discussed as micromirror arrays and membrane mirrors for image generation and phase modulation. Technology trends are derived from the current development activities and an outlook to future work is given.