The Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) has developed light modulators packing several million mirrors on a single semiconductor chip. The CMOS-integrated micromirror array with two tilting axes per mirror also has its associated technological platform.
Fraunhofer IPMS microscanner mirrors (MEMS scanners) deflect light in a targeted manner and serve as versatile sensory devices of digitisation. 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, analyse and react to changes in their environment.
A machine’s perceptive ability is important for modern technologies such as autonomous driving and robot operation such as those in industrial applications, for three-dimensional vision and workflow adaptation with lidar. Using optical coherence tomography (OCT), Fraunhofer IPMS micro-optical systems can analyse 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 analysing the reflection characteristics of different substances.