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What is MEMS (micro-electromechanical system)?


MEMS stands for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems. A complete MEMS is an integrated micro device system composed of micro sensors, micro actuators, signal processing and control circuits, communication interfaces and power supplies.

Compared with traditional machinery, MEMS are smaller in size, with the largest being no more than one centimeter and the smallest being only a few microns. Using silicon-based materials, it has excellent electrical properties. The strength, hardness and Young's modulus of silicon material are equivalent to iron, the density is similar to aluminum, and the thermal conductivity is close to molybdenum and tungsten. Using a generation technology similar to that of integrated circuits (ICs), mature technologies and processes in IC production can be extensively utilized for large-volume, low-cost production, greatly improving the cost performance compared to traditional "mechanical" manufacturing technology.


Advantages of MEMS

  1. Miniaturization: MEMS devices have small size, light weight, low energy consumption, small inertia, high resonant frequency and short response time.
  2. Microelectronics integration: Multiple sensors or actuators with different functions, different sensitive directions or actuation directions can be integrated into one, or a micro-sensor array, a micro-actuator array can be formed, or even multiple functional devices can be integrated into one Together, they form complex microsystems.
  3. High-precision batch manufacturing: Using silicon micromachining technology, millions of micro-electromechanical devices or complete MEMS systems can be manufactured simultaneously on a single silicon wafer.


Application of MEMS in optical switches

MEMS optical switches are based on micro-electromechanical systems and use optical micromirrors or optical mirror arrays to change the propagation direction of light beams to achieve switching of optical paths. It is mainly used for:


1. Multicast Switching Optical Switch (MCS)

Multicast Switching Optical Switch (MCS), based on PLC technology and MEMS technology, is a key component of the next-generation Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexing (ROADM) system; each functional unit consists of M independent Splitters and N independent MEMS Optical Switches. It provides connections from N upper (or lower) ports to M directions.

2. Optical Cross Connect (OXC)

Through the optical switch cascade integration, it can be used for small-scale OXC to meet the needs of industry private network and data center critical lines.

3. Optical Cable Monitoring

OTDR integration, combined with monitoring software, through time-division multiplexing OTDR, monitoring the quality status of multi-core fibers in optical cable, widely used in PON network optical cable monitoring, optical transmission network optical cable monitoring, industry-specific network optical cable monitoring.

4. DWDM System

Channel power equalization, link node power attenuation, optical receiver light protection, and rapid optical line on-off control.

5. Test instrumentation and factory automation

The market size of test instruments and factory automation is relatively small, but its added value is high. It has high requirements on the optical performance of optical switches, such as insertion loss, return loss, repeatability, etc.


GLSUN, a MEMS optical switch manufacturer, focuses on the research of large-channel multi-core optical fiber collimators and breaks through the process problems of regular and compact arrangement of high-density optical fibers. At present, GLSUN already has the mass production capacity of 1×128 optical switches. In the future, GLSUN will release higher-channel MEMS optical switches.

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