Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Shekhar Bhansali

Co-Major Professor

Scott Samson


Accelerometer, FDTD, Infrared, Micromachining, Output Intensity


A novel technique of coupling near-field evanescent waves by means of variable period subwavelength gratings (1.2 ìm and 1.0 ìm), using a 1.55 ìm infrared semiconductor laser is presented for the use of an optical MEMS accelerometer. The subwavelength gratings were fabricated on both glass and silicon substrates respectively.

Optical simulation of the subwavelength gratings was carried out to obtain the maximum coupling efficiency of the two subwavelength gratings; the grating thickness, grating width, and the grating separation were optimized. This was performed for both silicon and glass substrates.

The simulations were used to determine the total system noise, including the noise generated from the germanium photodiode, sensitivity, and displacement detection resolution of the coupled subwavelength grating MEMS accelerometer. The coupled gratings were utilized as optical readout accelerometers.

The spring/proof mass silicon accelerometer was fabricated using a four mask process, in which the structure was completed using two deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) processes. The designed serpentine spring styles determine the sensitivity of the accelerometer; when the springs are made longer or shorter, thicker or thinner, this directly attributes to the sensitivity of the device.

To test function of the example of the devices, the accelerometer is placed on a platform, which permits displacement normal to the plane of the grating. The 1.550 ìm infrared laser is incident on the coupled subwavelength grating accelerometer device and the output intensity is measured using a geranium photodiode. As the platform is displaced, the grating separation between the two gratings changes and causes the output intensity to change. Using the coupled subwavelength grating simulations as a reference to the output intensity change with respect to gap, the mechanical and coupling sensitivity properties of as it relates to acceleration is presented.