Device having a conductive light absorbing mask and method for fabricating same

Inventor: Manish Kothari
Original Assignee: QUALCOMM MEMS Technologies, Inc.

Patent number: 8035883
Filing date: Jan 20, 2011
Issue date: Oct 11, 2011
Application number: 13/010,665

A system and method for an optical component that masks non-active portions of a display and provides an electrical path for one or more display circuits. In one embodiment an optical device includes a substrate, a plurality of optical elements on the substrate, each optical element having an optical characteristic which changes in response to a voltage applied to the optical element, and a light-absorbing, electrically-conductive optical mask disposed on the substrate and offset from the plurality of optical elements, the optical mask electrically coupled to one or more of the optical elements to provide electrical paths for applying voltages to the optical elements. In another embodiment, a method of providing an electrical signal to optical elements of a display comprises electrically coupling an electrically-conductive light-absorbing mask to one or more optical elements, and applying a voltage to the mask to activate the one or more optical elements.

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. An electromechanical device comprising:

a substrate;

a light modulating element disposed on the substrate, the modulating element comprising an active area that displays data and a non-active area that does not display data, the modulating element further comprising a movable reflective layer and a non-movable partially reflective layer, at least a portion of the movable reflective layer and the non-movable partially reflective layer disposed in the active area of the modulating element, the movable layer configured to move between a driven state and an undriven state in response to a voltage applied to the modulating element; and

an electrically-conductive mask disposed to mask the non-active area of the modulating element and minimize light reflected from the non-active area, the mask electrically coupled to the modulating element to provide one or more electrical paths for applying voltages to the modulating element, the mask comprising a non-movable reflective layer, a non-movable partially reflective layer, and an interferometric cavity defined by the reflective layer and the partially reflective layer.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the mask is disposed between a structure in the non-active area and light entering the light modulating element to minimize light reflecting from the structure.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the mask is laterally offset from the active area so that light can propagate to at least a portion of the movable reflective layer.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein a row cut between a plurality of light modulating elements in the device is located in the non-active area.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein a support between the movable reflective layer and the non-movable partially reflective layer of the modulating element is located in the non-active area.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein a portion of the movable reflective layer that bends when the movable reflective layer is in the driven state is located in the non-active area.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein the non-active area comprises an area between movable reflective layers of adjacent light modulating elements in the device.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the mask is configured to appear black.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein the mask is configured to appear a color other than black.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein the mask comprises a dielectric material sandwiched between the non-movable reflective layer and the non-movable partially reflective layer.

11. The device of claim 1, further comprising:

a processor that is configured to communicate with the light modulating element, the processor being configured to process image data; and

a memory device that is configured to communicate with the processor.

12. The device of claim 11, further comprising a driver circuit configured to send at least one signal to the light modulating element and a controller configured to send at least a portion of the image data to the driver circuit.

13. The device of claim 11, further comprising an image source module configured to send the image data to the processor.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein the image source module comprises at least one of a receiver, transceiver, and transmitter.

15. The device of claim 11, further comprising an input device configured to receive input data and to communicate the input data to the processor.

16. An optical device comprising:

a substrate;

a light modulating element disposed on the substrate, the modulating element comprising a movable reflective layer which moves in response to a voltage applied to the modulator; and

electrically-conductive masking means disposed in a non-active area of the modulating element to minimize light reflected from the non-active area, the masking means comprising a non-movable first reflective layer and a non-movable second reflective layer, and an interferometric cavity defined by the first reflective layer and the second reflective layer, the masking means being electrically coupled to the modulating element to provide one or more electrical paths for applying voltages to the modulator.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein the masking means is disposed between a structure in the non-active area and light entering the light modulating element to minimize light reflecting from the structure.

18. The device of claim 16, wherein the modulator comprises an active area, and wherein the masking means is laterally offset from the active area so that light can propagate to at least a portion of the movable reflective layer.

19. A display device comprising:

a light modulating element comprising an active area and at least one non-active area laterally offset from the active area, a movable reflective layer which moves in response to a voltage applied to the modulator, at least a portion of the movable reflective layer disposed in the active area; and

an electrically-conductive mask disposed to minimize light reflected from the at least one non-active area, the mask electrically coupled to the modulating element to provide one or more electrical paths for applying voltages to the modulating element, the mask comprising a static interferometric modulator.

20. The display device of claim 19, wherein the static interferometric modulator comprises a non-movable reflective layer, a non-movable partially reflective layer, and an interferometric cavity defined by the reflective layer and the partially reflective layer.

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