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High-Fidelity Optical Microphone Manufactured in Laminates
Keywords: High-fidelity, Microphone, Optical
Demands by the consumer electronics industry for high quality, low-cost goods have led to the increase in the use of low-cost integrated MEMS components. Manufactures rely on new materials and manufacturing techniques to satisfy consumer demands as apparent in the integration of optical (EO) components into printed circuit boards (PCB). Performance of these devices is not only sought out by the market, but also by system designers that look for high quality components at the front-end of their systems. Reducing extraneous components for pre-signal processing ultimately means less integration overhead. Using processes compatible with PCB manufacturing, we now introduce a high-fidelity velocity optical microphone. We have demonstrated the benefits of Laminate MEMS with optical MEMS sensors manufactured in novel laminate materials using free-standing polymeric waveguides to convert acoustic signals into optical ones. These were manufactured using an ArF excimer laser cutting system using a two step high/low energy ablation cycle to ensure optical quality. Inherently EMI-free, this highly directional microphone offers intrinsic broadband response and over 100 dB dynamic range. We are capable of detecting acoustic signals by modulating intensity and phase. The optical laminate structures act as both the detector and transmission medium for the acoustic signal to be delivered to other components embedded on the PCB. Following the trend for integrated photonics, multichannel optical fiber connectors are adopted to transfer optical signals to an offsite system, ideal for use in locations not suitable for traditional transducers and providing high quality audio without the need for additional signal processing.
Jonas Tsai, Student
University of California - Irvine
Irvine, CA

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