Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Ronald A. Coutu, PhD.


Aircraft laser beamsteering is accomplished using a single gimbaled mirror housed inside a turret, which protrudes from the fuselage and causes unwanted turbulence, vibrations, and weight. The Air Force is currently investigating the use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) micro-mirror arrays to replace aircraft beamsteering technology. MEMS micro-mirror arrays provide a unique solution to address these issues. Unfortunately, current MEMS micro-mirror technology cannot meet all the beamsteering requirements in a single assembly. These include high fill-factor, large aperture, 25 degrees of out-of-plane deflection, 4-axis tilt, and actuation speeds below 1 ms. In this research, a novel MEMS actuation scheme to address all these requirements using electrostatically driven bimorph cantilever beams was designed, modeled, fabricated, and characterized. Modeling results show a linear relationship between the number of cantilever beams and maximum deflection. Characterization of fabricated micro-mirror assemblies supports the modeling for individual actuators as well as for micro-mirror platform assemblies. Fabricated devices reached vertical deflections greater than 170 micrometer with pull-in voltages of 20 V and an optical range of 16 degrees. These large deflections, low pull-in voltage, and reasonable optical range shown in this research demonstrate the feasibility of using MEMS micro-mirror arrays to address aircraft beamsteering issues.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number