Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Applied Science (MASc)


Engineering Physics


Rafael N. Kleiman




The phenomenon of radiation pressure has fascinated scientists since it was first proposed by Maxwell in the late 19th century. Numerous experiments involving optical forces have been carried out, however the optical force acting on a curved waveguide does not appear to have been previously investigated. An experiment to measure the force acting on a waveguide due to the optical power it contains is proposed here. This experiment takes advantage of the sensitivity of MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) and the performance of silicon integrated optics in a single hybrid device.

Devices are fabricated from silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers using conventional micromachining techniques. Anisotropic alkali etches are used to produce smooth vertical side-walls for a mechanical structure and a rib waveguide. An analysis of the electrical systems and measurement techniques is provided. Using these techniques, the resonant operation of the devices is demonstrated by means of capacitive actuation and sensing. The application of this system to the measurement of radiation pressure is discussed.

McMaster University Library

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