Phase-Only Piston Microelectromechanicla Spatial Light Modulator

Period of Performance: 11/05/1999 - 05/08/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Optron Systems, Inc.
3 Preston Court
Bedford, MN 01730
Principal Investigator


We propose to design and build a MEMS based, gray-scale, phase-only spatial light modulator (SLM) using microactuating pistons. The pistons will be fabricated using a process flow that will produce optical quality surfaces at the modulator surface. The displacement of the individual pistons will result in 360 degree phase change at the operating wavelength. Ultimately, the device will be fabricated on high-voltage VLSI substrates. Operating below pull-in voltage with high-voltage drivers, we expect single actuator speeds in the megahertz region to enable high-framing-rate SLMs. In Phase I, we will fabricate and test a ganged, 20 micron pixel proof-of-concept device. In addition, we will design, simulate and submit for fabrication VLSI circuits that will be used to drive the micropiston actuator array and provide the external digital interface. In Phase II, we will fabricate 256x256, 20 micron, piston array onto a high-voltage CMOS substrate, which is designed to frame at speeds exceeding 1 kHz. We will optimize its optical quality and characterize its operation. We plan to market this device for high-speed optical correlation systems, HDTV microdisplays and large screen projectors, and laser printer and engraving engines.