Fraunhofer IPMS: Optical microsystems for fast high-resolution light control

Optical microsystems are forging the path of light. Fraunhofer IPMS photonic systems modulate light via small deflectable mirrors to induce images and structures in a unique way. Expanding on this technique, the Dresden-based Fraunhofer research institute has developed spatial light modulators consisting of up to several million mirrors on a semiconductor chip. These micro mirror arrays are to be used in semiconductor production as well as in micro and laser projection. Fraunhofer IPMS is currently the world leader in this field. Adding to its already impressive list of technologies, Fraunhofer IPMS has now developed a CMOS-integrated micromirror array with two tilting axes per mirror as well as the associated technological platform.



In addition to implementation in the semiconductor industry, the new innovation developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) "Microelectronic and Optical Systems for Biomedicine" (MEOS) project center provides novel imaging methods in microscopy which are particularly useful in biomedical applications.

Fraunhofer IPMS microscanner mirrors (MEMS scanners) deflect light in a targeted manner and serve as versatile sensory organs of digitization. Captured by a one- or two-dimensional reflecting mirror, a light reflex provides information about the environment or the properties and composition of a material. Optical sensors enable machines to perceive, analyze and react to changes in their environment.

Machine perceptive ability is important for modern technologies such as autonomous driving and robot operation. Fraunhofer IPMS develops small and integrable MEMS scanners able to fulfill all the requirements necessary for autonomous driving. These microscanners are also ready to be used in the operation of industrial robots capable of three-dimensional vision and workflow adaptation thanks to LIDAR technology. Using optical coherence tomography (OCT), Fraunhofer IPMS micro-optical systems can analyze material surface and depth structure in the micrometer range. Although the method was initially developed for medical applications, recent research has allowed expansion into other areas. In addition, MEMS developed at Fraunhofer IPMS can capture a material's spectral fingerprint for precise identification by recording and analyzing the reflection characteristics of different substances.

Fraunhofer IPMS services range from conception to product development and pilot series production – from components to complete system solutions. Visitors to this year's SPIE Photonics West, the world's leading trade fair and conference for lasers, photonics and biomedical optics taking place from 1-6 February in San Francisco, can receive information about the latest Fraunhofer IPMS developments.

Open from 4-6 February 2020, the Fraunhofer IPMS and MEOS Project Center exhibition can be found at Booth 4361 in the North Hall. Expert lectures on newest Fraunhofer IPMS technologies are scheduled for 1. and 5. February.


Image: Fraunhofer IPMS