Processing

Please wait...

Settings

Settings

Goto Application

1. WO2020117278 - COUPLED AND SYNCHRONOUS MIRROR ELEMENTS IN A LIDAR-BASED MICRO-MIRROR ARRAY

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) apparatus configured to redirect light in a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system, the MEMS apparatus comprising:

a support frame;

a plurality of mirror elements disposed in a linear array in an end-to-end, longitudinally configured arrangement within the support frame, the plurality of mirror elements including:

a first mirror element; and

a second mirror element, the second mirror element adjacent to and linearly aligned with the first mirror element;

wherein each mirror element of the plurality of mirror elements is rotatable on a rotational axis that is perpendicular to a line defined by the linear array of the plurality of mirror elements, the rotational axis of each mirror element bisecting the corresponding mirror element into a first portion and a second portion; and

a coupling element having a distal end coupled to a first portion of the first mirror element and a proximal end coupled to a second portion of the second mirror element, whereby the coupling element physically couples the first and second mirror elements such that a rotation of the first mirror element causes a synchronous and equal rotation of the second mirror element, and a rotation of the second mirror element causes a synchronous and equal rotation of the first mirror element.

2. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein each mirror element includes a first coupling location on its first portion and a second coupling location on its second portion, the first coupling location and second coupling location defining where the coupling element is configured to couple to, wherein the first coupling location and the second coupling location are equidistant from and on opposite sides of a rotational axis of the corresponding mirror element.

3. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:

one or more processors; and

one or more MEMS motors controlled by the one or more processors and configured to rotate at least one of the first mirror element and second mirror element, wherein the coupling element causes the plurality of mirror elements to synchronously,

mechanically, and equally rotate over a range of motion as the one or more MEMS motors rotates the at least one of the first mirror element and second mirror element.

4. The MEMS apparatus of claim 3 wherein the range of motion includes a rotational range of within 90 degrees.

5. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein the support frame, the plurality of mirror elements, and the coupling element together form a continuous, unitary structure formed on a common substrate.

6. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 further comprising: a third mirror element, the third mirror element adjacent to and linearly aligned with the second mirror element; and

a second coupling element having a distal end coupled to a first portion of the second mirror element and a proximal end coupled to a second portion of the third mirror element, whereby the coupling element physically couples the second and third mirror elements such that a rotation of the third mirror element causes a synchronous and equal rotation of the first and second mirror elements.

7. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first portion of the first mirror element and the second portion of the second mirror both include a longitudinally-oriented channel that is configured to allow the coupling element to pass through a plane defined by the first mirror element and the second mirror element as the first and second mirror elements are rotated.

8. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein the coupling element flexes as the first and second mirror elements are rotated.

9. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein the support frame includes a coupling element support configured parallel to the rotational axes of the first and second mirror elements and between the first and second mirror elements, and wherein the coupling element pivots on the coupling element support as the first and second mirror elements are rotated.

10. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first mirror element is coupled to the support frame by at least one support hinge configured along the rotational axis and facilitates the rotation of the first and second mirror elements along the rotational axis.

11. The MEMS apparatus of claim 10 wherein the at least one support hinge, the support frame, the first and second mirror elements, and the coupling element are a continuous, unitary structure.

12. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein each of the plurality of mirror elements are of the same size and dimensions.

13. The MEMS apparatus of claim 12 wherein each of the plurality of mirror elements are rectangular with:

two opposing ends separated by a first distance defining a length and longitudinal arrangement of the corresponding mirror element; and

two opposing sides separated by a second distance defining a width of the corresponding mirror element.

14. The MEMS apparatus of claim 1 wherein support frame includes a support structure that is configured perpendicular to the linear array and at a location between the first and second mirrors, wherein the support structure supports the coupling element at a pivot point, and wherein the coupling element rotates at the pivot point.

15. A MEMS apparatus configured to redirect light in a LiDAR system, the MEMS apparatus comprising:

a support frame;

a first mirror element coupled to the support frame by a first support hinge, wherein the first mirror element is rotatable relative to the support frame along a rotational axis at the first support hinge and defined by an orientation of the first support hinge;

a second mirror element coupled to the support frame by a second support hinge, wherein the second mirror element is rotatable relative to the support frame along a rotational axis at the second support hinge and defined by an orientation of the second support hinge; and

a coupling element coupling the first mirror element to the second mirror element such that a rotation of the first mirror element causes the second mirror element to rotate synchronously and equally with the first mirror element, and a rotation of the second mirror element causes the first mirror element to rotate synchronously and equally with the second mirror element.

16. The MEMS apparatus of claim 15 wherein the first and second mirror elements disposed in a linear array in an end-to-end, longitudinally configured arrangement within the support frame.

17. The MEMS apparatus of claim 15 wherein the first and second mirror elements have a rotation range of within 90 degrees.

18. The MEMS apparatus of claim 15 wherein the support frame, the first and second mirror elements, and the coupling element together form a continuous, unitary structure formed on a common substrate.

19. The MEMS apparatus of claim 15 wherein the coupling element flexes as the first and second mirror elements are rotated.

20. The MEMS apparatus of claim 15 wherein the support frame includes a coupling element support configured parallel to the rotational axes of the first and second mirror elements and between the first and second mirror elements, and wherein the coupling element pivots on the coupling element support as the first and second mirror elements are rotated.

21. A MEMS apparatus configured to redirect light in a LiDAR system, the MEMS apparatus comprising:

a support frame;

a plurality of mirror elements disposed in a linear array in an end-to-end, longitudinally configured arrangement within the support frame, wherein each mirror element of the plurality of mirror elements is rotatable on a rotational axis that is perpendicular to a line defined by the linear array of the plurality of mirror elements; and

a coupling element configured adjacent to and in parallel with the linear array of the plurality of mirror elements, the coupling element coupled to substantially a same location at each of the plurality of mirror elements, whereby the coupling element physically couples each of the plurality of mirror elements together such that a rotation of any one of the plurality of mirror elements causes a synchronous and equal rotation of the remaining mirror elements of the plurality of mirror elements coupled to the coupling element.

22. The MEMS apparatus of claim 21 further comprising: one or more processors; and

one or more MEMS motors or actuators controlled by the one or more processors and configured to drive the coupling element that causes the plurality of mirror elements to synchronously and equally rotate over a range of motion.

23. The MEMS apparatus of claim 22 wherein the range of motion includes a rotational range of within 90 degrees.

24. The MEMS apparatus of claim 21 wherein the support frame, the coupling element, and the plurality of mirror elements are formed as a unitary structure with a common substrate.

25. The MEMS apparatus of claim 25 wherein the common substrate is a semiconductor substrate and the support frame, the coupling element, and the plurality of mirror elements are on a common plane.

26. The MEMS apparatus of claim 21 wherein each of the plurality of mirror elements are of the same size and dimensions.

27. The MEMS apparatus of claim 21 wherein the first mirror element is coupled to the support frame by at least one support hinge configured along the rotational axis and facilitates the rotation of the first and second mirror elements along the rotational axis.

28. The MEMS apparatus of claim 28 wherein the at least one support hinge, the support frame, the first and second mirror elements, and the coupling element are a common, unitary structure formed on a common substrate.

29. The MEMS apparatus of claim 21 wherein each of the plurality of mirror elements are rectangular with:

two opposing ends separated by a first distance defining a length and longitudinal arrangement of the corresponding mirror element; and

two opposing sides separated by a second distance defining a width of the corresponding mirror element.

30. The MEMS apparatus of claim 21 wherein the coupling element flexes as the first and second mirror elements are rotated.

31. A MEMS apparatus configured to redirect light in a LiDAR system, the MEMS apparatus comprising:

a support frame;

a plurality of mirror elements disposed in a linear array within the support frame, wherein each mirror element of the plurality of mirror elements is rotatable on a rotational axis that is perpendicular to a line defined by the linear array of the plurality of mirror elements; and

a coupling element coupled to substantially a same location at each of the plurality of mirror elements, whereby the coupling element physically couples each of the plurality of mirror elements together such that a rotation of any one of the plurality of mirror elements causes a synchronous and equal rotation of the remaining mirror elements of the plurality of mirror elements coupled to the coupling element.

32. The MEMS apparatus of claim 31 further comprising: one or more processors; and

one or more MEMS motors or actuators controlled by the one or more processors and configured to drive the coupling element that causes the plurality of mirror elements to synchronously and equally rotate over a range of motion.

33. The MEMS apparatus of claim 31 wherein the range of motion includes a rotational range of within 90 degrees.

34. The MEMS apparatus of claim 31 wherein the support frame and the plurality of mirror elements are formed on a common substrate.

35. The MEMS apparatus of claim 31 wherein each of the plurality of mirror elements are of the same size and dimensions.

36. The MEMS apparatus of claim 31 wherein each of the plurality of mirror elements are rectangular with:

two opposing ends separated by a first distance defining a length and longitudinal arrangement of the corresponding mirror element; and

two opposing sides separated by a second distance defining a width of the corresponding mirror element.

37. The MEMS apparatus of claim 31 wherein the first mirror element is coupled to the support frame by at least one support hinge configured along the rotational axis and facilitates the rotation of the first and second mirror elements along the rotational axis.

38. The MEMS apparatus of claim 37 wherein the at least one support hinge, the support frame, the first and second mirror elements, and the coupling element are a common, unitary structure.

39. A MEMS apparatus configured to redirect light in a LiDAR system, the MEMS apparatus comprising:

a support frame;

a plurality of mirror elements disposed in a linear array within the support frame, wherein each mirror element of the plurality of mirror elements is rotatable on a rotational axis that is perpendicular to a line defined by the linear array of the plurality of mirror elements;

at least one support hinge for each of the plurality of mirror elements, each support hinge configured along the rotational axis and configured to couple a corresponding mirror element to the support frame, each support hinge configured to facilitate the rotation of the first and second mirror elements along the rotational axis; and

a flexible coupling element coupled to substantially a same location at each of the plurality of mirror elements, whereby the coupling element physically couples each of the plurality of mirror elements together such that a rotation of any one of the plurality of mirror elements causes a synchronous and equal rotation of the remaining mirror elements of the plurality of mirror elements coupled to the coupling element.

40. The MEMS apparatus of claim 39 wherein the at least one support hinge, the support frame, the first and second mirror elements, and the coupling element are a unitary structure formed on a common substrate.