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MEMS Optical Modulator


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Optical Modulator

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MEMS Optical Modulator

The BMC MEMS Optical Modulator was designed for use in free space optical communication systems. The modulator is a reflective diffraction grating with controllable groove depth. It is capable of continuous far field intensity variation of a reflected laser beam by varying either between an unpowered flat mirror-state and a powered diffractive-state either gradually or in a binary fashion. The device design is based on BMC’s heritage deformable mirror technology that uses hysteresis-free electrostatic actuators to periodically deform a continuous mirror facesheet. The device microfabrication process has the sole purpose of producing optical modulators in a cost-effective manner using commercial semiconductor batch processing techniques.

Optical Modulator

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MEMS Optical Modulator

Optical Modulator Characteristics

  • Continuous Surface
  • Single-actuation design
  • Analog step feature
  • Aperture*: 9 mm
  • Coating: Gold
  • Zero hysteresis
  • Zero group velocity dispersion (GVD)
  • Surface Finish: <6 nm
  • RMS Switching speed: <20µs

* Custom-sized apertures available upon request


Watch Michael Feinberg of BMC discuss the MEMS Optical Modulator at Photonics West 2012

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actuator deflection
Actuator deflection   Applied Voltage

Customization Opportunity

Optical Modulators spanning various areas have been demonstrated and device performance can be customized to user specifications. The specifications listed below are for a device that was created for a specific need. Please contact us to arrange a meeting with our engineering team to discuss how the Optical Modulator platform can be customized for you.



Customization Example

The Optical Modulator technology has been integrated into a product developed for a specific need, namely the Modulating RetroReflector (MRR). Click here for more information regarding this product and how it can be customized for your needs.


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