Photonic microsystems: An enabling technology for light deflection and modulation
Light and electricity are said to be the all purpose tools for the next decades. Photonic Microsystems combine this tools in an ideal manner: They are electronically addressable devices with an optical functionality allowing to modulate light temporally and/or spatially. Further, they take advantage of high integration density, high reliability, high bandwidth and low cost fabrication for serial production. While in some cases Photonic Microsystem Technology is focused 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 Photonic Microsystem Technology have already entered or are only a few steps away from entering the market in various fields e. g. in information and communication technology, medicine, biology and metrology. This paper gives an overview of the Photonic Microsystems development activities with special emphasis on devices for light deflection and light modulation. Single micro mirrors e. g. for scanning or laser beam positioning are as well presented and discussed as micro mirror 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.