ISIT scientists have been working on the development of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) for more than 30 years. In the Business Unit MEMS Applications, ISIT focuses on the design, development, and production of MEMS components and MEMS systems.
Optical microsystems are a key focal point in this business unit. Here ISIT develops MEMS scanners, that are scanning micromirrors including control and read out electronics for different kinds of laser projection displays, beam forming methods, optical measuring and detection systems (such as LIDAR), and power applications in the fields of laser material processing and generative manufacturing. Based on a patented fabrication process, ISIT is currently the world’s only manufacturer of wafer-level vacuum packaged dual-axis MEMS scanners. Operating these scanning micromirrors in a local vacuum environment offers significant advantages.
Damping by the gas molecules is reduced to a minimum, enabling high-frequency scanning with unrivaled scan angles even at low electrostatic driving voltages. Hermetic encapsulation at the wafer level also results in the cost-effective and permanent protection of the scanning micromirrors against all kinds of contamination. This for example makes the steam sterilization of these MEMS scanners in an autoclave for endoscopy applications possible without causing damage.
ISIT has also realized a 3D camera with a depth resolution of just a few millimeters and a detectable object distance of 2 meters on the basis of 2D MEMS scanners. Novel scanning micromirrors with apertures of up to 2 centimeters and highly reflective coatings even permit highly dynamic dual-axis laser beam deflection for CW laser outputs of up to 500 watts. In addition to capacitively driven scanning micromirrors, piezoelectrically driven scanning micromirrors are currently a research focal point at ISIT. This drive concept is particularly attractive due to its potential high force with simultaneous low energy consumption. Deflections of up to 1600 μm have already been realized on individual scanning micromirrors of this type for resonant, translatory lifting movements.
The business unit is also involved in sensor applications with a focus on high detection sensitivity. Highly sensitive magnetic field sensors are a key example here. They are intended for advancing into the femtotesla range without super-conductivity for the non-invasive measurement and monitoring of important body functions such as heart and brain signals. The long-term objective is, on the one hand, to integrate such and similar diagnostic capabilities into clothing, glasses, or hats (wearables), in order to make many examination procedures that are highly specialized today a standardized matter of course.