Piezo-electrically Actuated Micro Corner Cube Retroreflector (CCR) for Free-space Optical Communication Applications

Lee, Duk-Hyun;Park, Jae-Y.

  • Received : 2010.02.16
  • Accepted : 2010.04.09
  • Published : 2010.06.01


In this paper, an extremely low voltage operated micro corner cube retroreflector (CCR) was fabricated for free-space optical communication applications by using bulk silicon micromachining technologies. The CCR was comprised of an orthogonal vertical mirror and a horizontal actuated mirror. For low voltage operation, the horizontal actuated mirror was designed with two PZT cantilever actuators, torsional bars, hinges, and a mirror plate with a size of $400{\mu}m{\times}400{\mu}m$. In particular, the torsional bars and hinges were carefully simulated and designed to secure the flatness of the mirror plate by using a finite element method (FEM) simulator. The measured tilting angle was approximately $2^{\circ}$ at the applied voltage of 5 V. An orthogonal vertical mirror with an extremely smooth surface texture was fabricated using KOH wet etching and a double-SOI (silicon-on-insulator) wafer with a (110) silicon wafer. The fabricated orthogonal vertical mirror was comprised of four pairs of two mutually orthogonal flat mirrors with $400{\mu}m4 (length) $\times400{\mu}m$ (height) $\times30{\mu}m$ (thickness). The cross angles and surface roughness of the orthogonal vertical mirror were orthogonal, almost $90^{\circ}$ and 3.523 nm rms, respectively. The proposed CCR was completed by combining the orthogonal vertical and horizontal actuated mirrors. Data transmission and modulation at a frequency of 10 Hz was successfully demonstrated using the fabricated CCR at a distance of approximately 50 cm.


MEMS;Orthogonal mirror;Corner cube retroreflector (CCR);Vertical silicon mirror;Piezoelectric actuation;Cantilever;Optical communication


  1. D. Steere, A. Baptista, D. McNamee, C. Pu and J. Walpole, "Research challenges in environmental observation and forecasting systems," in Proc. ACM/IEEE MOBICOM, pp. 292-299, Aug. 2000.
  2. L. Schwiebert, S. K. S. Gupta and J. Weinmann, "Research challenges in wireless networks of biomedical sensors," in Proc. ACM/IEEE MOBICOM, pp. 151-165, 2001.
  3. S. D. Feller, E. Cull, D. P. Kowalski, K. Farlow, J. Burchett, J. Adleman, C. Lin and D. J. Brady, "Tracking and imaging humans on heterogeneous infrared sensor array for tactical applications," SPIE Aerosense, Apr. 2002.
  4. J. Kahn, R. H. Katz and K. Pister, "Emerging Challenges: Mobile Networking for 'Smart Dust'," J. Communications and Networks, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 188-196, Sep., 2000.
  5. S. Teramoto and T. Ohtsuki, "Optical Wireless Sensor Network System Using Corner Cube Retroreflectors," J. Wireless Communications and Networking, Vol. 1, pp. 39-44, 2005.
  6. D. J. Vasquez and Jack W. Judy, "Optically-Interrogated Zero-Power MEMS Magnetometer," J. Microelecmech. Syst., Vol. 16, No.2, Apr. 2007.
  7. L. Zhou, J. M. Kahn and K. S. J. Pister, "Corner-cube retroreflectors based on structure-assisted assembly for free-space optical communication," J. Microelectromech. Syst., Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 233-242, June 2003.
  8. Y. K. Hong and R. R. A. Syms, "Dynamic Response Modeling of MEMS Micromirror Corner Cube Reflectors With Angular Vertical Combdrives," J. Lightwave Technol., Vol. 25, pp. 472-480, 2007.
  9. R. Agarwal, S. Samson, S. Kedia and S. Bhansali, "Fabrication of Integrated Vertical Mirror Surfaces and Transparent Window for Packaging MEMS Devices," J. Microelectromech. Syst., Vol. 16, No. 1, Feb. 2007.
  10. C. Marxer, C. Thio, M. Gretillat, N. F. de Rooji, R. Battig, R. Anthamatten, B. Valk and P. Vogel, "Vertical mirrors fabricated by deep reactive ion etching for fiber-optic switching applications," J. Microelectromech. Syst., Vol. 6, No. 7, pp. 277-285, July 1997.

Cited by

  1. Optics-based wireless sensor node localization using MEMS CCR vol.13, pp.6, 2015,
  2. Development and characterization of piezoelectrically actuated corner cube retroreflectors for applications in free-space optical sensor network vol.51, pp.13, 2012,
  3. Surface-Micromachined MEMS Tunable Three-Leaf Trefoil-Type Corner Cube Retro-Reflector for Free-Space Optical Applications vol.21, pp.4, 2015,
  4. Bulk Micromachined Vibration Driven Electromagnetic Energy Harvesters for Self-sustainable Wireless Sensor Node Applications vol.8, pp.6, 2013,