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Xerox Mirrors May Yield Large Switches

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2001
A new microelectromechanical system (MEMS) developed at Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center in California may enable the production of larger and cheaper optical cross-connects for telecommunications applications. After six months of development, researchers on the project have fabricated 1156-mirror arrays, and they claim the ability to create 10,000-element arrays.

The team opted to abandon silicon in favor of metal-on-glass micromirrors. The new mirrors have a tilt angle twice that of conventional MEMS mirrors, allowing switches based on the system to be more compact, and they require lower drive voltage and power. According to the company, the team has achieved 100 percent mirror yields with the fabrication process, which requires half as many steps as those used to create typical MEMS.

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