AAS 197, January 2001
Session 14. New Space Missions and Instrumentation
Display, Monday, January 8, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[14.02] Simulation of Micro-electromechanical Systems (MEMS) for the Next Generation Space Telescope

J.L. Kuhn, R.B. Barclay, S.B. Dutta, M.M. Freund, M.A. Greenhouse, S.H. Moseley (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is developing optical micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) components for potential application in Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) science instruments. In this work, we present an overview of the electro-mechanical simulation of three MEMS components for NGST, which include a reflective micro-mirror array and transmissive microshutter array for aperture control for a near infrared (NIR) multi-object spectrometer and a large aperture MEMS Fabry-Perot tunable filter for a NIR wide field camera. In all cases the device must operate at cryogenic temperatures with low power consumption and low, CMOS compatible, voltages.

The goal of our simulation efforts is to adaquately predict both the performance and the reliability of the devices during ground handling, launch, and operation to prevent failures late in the development process and during flight. This goal requires detailed modeling and validation of complex electro-thermal-mechanical interactions and very large non-linear deformations, often involving surface contact. Various parameters such as spatial dimensions and device response are often difficult to measure reliably at these small scales. In addition, these devices are fabricated from a wide variety of materials including surface micro-machined aluminum, reactive ion etched (RIE) silicon nitride, and deep reactive ion etched (DRIE) bulk single crystal silicon. The above broad set of conditions combine to be a formidable challenge for space flight qualification analysis. These simulations represent NASA/GSFC's first attempts at implementing a comprehensive strategy to address complex MEMS structures.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jonathan.kuhn@gsfc.nasa.gov

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