We examine the light-activation properties of micrometer-sized gear structures fabricated with polysilicon surface micromachining techniques. The gears are held in place on a substrate through a capped anchor post and are free to rotate about the post. The light-activation technique is modeled on photon radiation pressure, and the equation of motion of the gear is solved for this activation technique. Experimental measurements of torque and damping are found to be consistent with expected results for micrometer-scale devices. Design optimization for optically actuated microstructures is discussed.

Applied Optics
Department of Electronics

Gauthier, R, Niall Tait, R., & Ubriaco, M. (Mike). (2002). Activation of microcomponents with light for micro-electro-mechanical systems and micro-optical-electro-mechanical systems applications. Applied Optics, 41(12), 2361–2367.