Novel MEMS-Based Diffractive Spatial Light Modulator

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This research addresses the development of a unique pixellated diffractive phase spatial light modulator (SLM) that is monolithically integrated onto a CMOS backplane to enable extremely energy-efficient video projection systems suitable for consumer electronics and many other applications including 3D imaging, adaptive optics, optical telecommunications, and holography. Light Blue Optics (LBO) has developed an innovative projection system using a novel MEMS-based diffractive SLM in addition to a conventional imaging panel. Our diffractive SLM consists of an array of spring actuators with attached mirrors that move in a piston motion. Each pixel can shift the phase of light by up to one wavelength, with the mirror providing the pixel’s optical surface; relative phase shifts between the pixels result in interference which allows an incident wavefront to be reshaped through diffraction to form desired images with minimum loss of light. This approach is the only known path for offering the brightness (> 50 lumen) and efficiency (> 50 lumen/W) needed to achieve the performance point required for volume penetration in mobile markets. In this paper, we describe the design, fabrication, process flow, and functionality characterization of these highly compliant MEMS SLM structures.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Nanotechnology 2012: Electronics, Devices, Fabrication, MEMS, Fluidics and Computational (Volume 2)
Published: June 18, 2012
Pages: 153 - 156
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 978-1-4665-6275-2