Spatial-mode analysis of micromachined optical cavities using electrothermal mirror actuation

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The performance of optical microcavities is limited by spectral degradation resulting from thermal deformation and fabrication imperfections. In this paper, we study the spatial-mode properties of micromirror optical cavities with respect to commonly seen aberrations. Electrothermal actuation is used to slightly adjust the shape and position of micromirrors and study the effects this has on the spatial-mode structure of the cavity spectrum. The shapes of the micromirrors are changed using Joule heating with thermal expansion deformation. Significant differences in mirror tilt, curvature, and astigmatism are measured, but the tilt has by far the biggest impact on cavity finesse and resolution. We demonstrate that unwanted higher order spatial modes can be suppressed electrically and an amplitude reduction for the higher order modes of over 60% has been obtained with a tuning current of 5.5 mA. A fundamental mode finesse of approximately 60 is maintained throughout tuning. These tunable cavities have great potential in applications using cavity arrays or requiring dynamic mode control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-785
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006


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