|Integrated Optical Micromachines for Space
The objectives of this CSA funded project were
- to review the technical status of optical micromachines (MOEMS),
- to identify opportune applications of MOEMS for space,
- to design and
- fabricate a technology demonstrator that embraces the main concepts of optical micromachines for Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs).
A technology demonstrator was designed and fabricated on an SOI platform that showed the feasibility of simultaneously fabricating and integrating a number of key passive and active components for micro-PICS on a single substrate.
Significant achievements were demonstrated with respect to the basic components for an optical integrated photonic circuit that can offer high functional densities. This includes a practical implementation of photonic band-gap theory using new concepts in high-order structures to provide wavelength selective filters, tunable PBG devices and innovative MEMS optical switches employing PBG concepts.
Overall operation and I/O coupling of the basic devices to single-mode optical fiber was demonstrated.
The significant advantages of micro-PIC technologies for space include freedom from EMI and ESD concerns, high data processing rates that are scalable, lightweight optical signal harness with high signal integrity, and high functional density with minimal volume and mass that facilitates parallel chip redundancy for fault-tolerant operation.
Experimental testing of high-order Photonic Band Gap (PBG) filters demonstrated that MPB’s prototype performed according to that predicted through the theoretical simulations. Despite using very few grating elements, wavelength selectivity better than 0.5 nm was feasible for filter and WDM applications in a very compact waveguide structure.
This project was carried out in cooperation with a team at Montreal’s École Polytechnique.