Design, simulation and characterization of a bimorph varifocal micromirror and its application in an optical imaging system

Li Li, Ran Li, Walter Lubeigt, Deepak Uttamchandani

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18 Citations (Scopus)


A 1.2-mm-diameter gold–silicon bimorph varifocal micromirror (VFM) has been designed and investigated for imaging applications. Several prototypes have been fabricated in a 10-$muhbox{m}$-thick single-crystal silicon-on-insulator material. Controlled variation of the radius of curvature using electrothermal and optothermal actuation has been demonstrated. A finite-element-based simulation of the device behavior has been undertaken. Experimental characterization has shown that the device focusing power varied from an initial 87 dioptre to 69 dioptre by applying dc electrical power of 33 mW and produced a focusing power value of 59 dioptre when optothermally actuated with a normally incident laser beam of 488-nm wavelength and 43 mW. When electrothermally driven, the mechanical rise and fall times of the device were measured as 130 and 120 ms, respectively. Experimental and theoretical analyses using Zernike coefficients show that, throughout the actuation range, the aberration of the VFM is mainly a small defocus term, with negligible higher order aberrations. A compact active imaging system incorporating the VFM has been also demonstrated. This system was capable of focusing several objects located along the optical axis with a maximum tracking range of 134 mm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number2
Early online date18 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • varifocal micromirror
  • laser beam
  • dc electrical power

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