Micro shutters are micro mechanical devices that fulfill optical and/or electrical functions. The use of such devices has gained momentum in the recent years as their minute size and high speed are viewed to be advantageous for use as optical or electrical switches. The particular type of device targeted in this project is generally referred to as a micro-actuator. It is a device that is curled in its natural state and uncurls when an external voltage is applied to it. When a transparent plate (E.g.: quartz substrate) containing thousands of such shutters can be inserted in a telescope for example, we can selectively extend regions of shutters (by making them uncurl through the application of voltage) to block out and reduce the intensity of bright sources (brighter stars) that may overshadow weaker light sources in the image. The shutters will in essence reduce the proximity effect that leads to the loss of resolution when two objects are closer than the Raleigh criterion. Micro shutters on transparent substrates were built and patented in 1998 through further research from the same participants .
"Micro Shutters on Quartz Substrate,"
Journal of the Microelectronic Engineering Conference: Vol. 12
, Article 21.
Available at: http://scholarworks.rit.edu/ritamec/vol12/iss1/21