Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Victor M. Bright, PhD


The development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) has matured to the point where the fabrication of micron sized devices is feasible. State of the art MEMS construction processes now support the fabrication of novel optical devices that could not previously be built. This dissertation reports on the development of innovative micro optical devices such as Variable Blaze Gratings (VBGs) using state of the art MEMS construction processes. The principle application of the micro optical devices described in this dissertation is steering optical beams; however other applications such as spectral analysis are identified. Specific optical beam steering systems developed and characterized in this work include: optical phased arrays, VBGs, decentered microlens arrays, and integrated Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) micro mirror systems. Optical power induced damage to micro machined mirrors is also modeled and tested. In addition a number of new MEMS devices were created during this research including: double hot arm thermal actuators, optical hybrid devices such as variable blaze phased arrays and focusing micro mirrors, and non-linear flexures. Extensive Fourier analysis and optical testing of the micro optical devices was used to verify device operation.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number