MEMS variable optical attenuator with vernier latching mechanism

A. Unamuno, D.G. Uttamchandani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


A microelectromechanical-systems-based moving fiber variable optical attenuator (VOA) with a Vernier latching mechanism is described in this letter. Controlled misalignment between the end-faces of two optical fibers varies the optical coupling. This is performed using a Chevron-type thermal microactuator which moves one fiber end-face with respect to the other. The moving fiber is latched in positions using a Vernier latching mechanism with 0.5-/spl mu/m step resolution. A prototype VOA has been fabricated using 80-/spl mu/m silicon-on-insulator. Optical power coupled between the two single-mode fibers varied from 3.72 to -44 dBm, and over this range the VOA latched in 30 stable positions. Insertion loss was measured to be 1.05 dB. In the unlatched mode, the 10%-90% and the 90%-10% response times of the system were measured to be 1.7 and 4.8 ms, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-90
Number of pages2
JournalIEEE Photonics Technology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • micro-optics
  • microactuators
  • optical attenuators
  • optical fibre
  • fabrication
  • optical fibre losses
  • silicon-on-insulator


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