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Development of a miniature radiation pressure-measuring microscale


Ivan Ryger, Alexandra B. Artusio-Glimpse, Paul A. Williams, Nathan A. Tomlin, Michelle S. Stephens, Matthew T. Spidell, John H. Lehman


Traditional methods for accurate measurement of high-power lasers involve total absorption of the laser light [1]. Our method, however, measures photon pressure exerted on a mirror without obstruction of the laser beam. The technique enables in situ measurements of total optical power with traceability to Planck’s constant by way of mass measurement (thus simplifying calibration). Furthermore, this setup enables fast on-line measurements of optical power with response times on the order of one hundred miliseconds. Using bulk silicon micromachining technology these sensors are compact, fast, and more sensitive improvements to a recently developed instrument based on commercially available microscales [2]. In this contribution, we present the fabrication and protype testing of a micromechanical radiation pressure force scale. The sensor itself consists of a distributed Bragg reflector on a silicon disk attached to a base annulus through an Archimedean spiral functioning as a single plane mirror, spring, and eletrode. Its radiation pressure-induced deflection, by reflection off the mirror, is detected by capacitive bridge electronics. Electrostatic force feedback [3] can be used to keep the sensor disk in equilibrium, circumvening the need to accurately know the spring constant. Additionally, a matched dual spring setup facilitates passive suppression of inertial forces (acceleration, vibrations, or gravity).
Conference Dates
July 3-7, 2017
Conference Location
Conference Title
8th International Conference on New Developments in Photodetection


Radiation pressure, force microscale, silicon micromachining, distributed Bragg reflector, Capacitive sensing


Ryger, I. , Artusio-Glimpse, A. , Williams, P. , Tomlin, N. , Stephens, M. , Spidell, M. and Lehman, J. (1970), Development of a miniature radiation pressure-measuring microscale, 8th International Conference on New Developments in Photodetection, Tours, -1 (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created May 7, 2017, Updated March 23, 2017