Spatial Light Valve (SLV)
Diffractive switches sacrifice reflectivity at the zeroeth order (direct reflection) in order to be used at the first diffractive order. This is consistent with their intended use for high-contrast projection display applications. The Micralyne Spatial Light Valve can operate in this mode to achieve such high contrast, but can additionally be used in the zeroeth order to achieve over 96% throughput of the laser wavelength being used. Using the first order to gain contrast requires wasting up to half of the source laser energy, as well as complicating the optical system.
In addition, the Spatial Light Valve structure affords exceptional switching speeds, in the tens of MHz. This enables data throughput in the tens of Gbit/second rates, useful for high resolution displays or high pixel count graphic arts applications.
The manufacture of the SLV device is a dedicated MEMS process, with just three masks and no polishing steps. The Spatial Light Valve can be tuned through an analog range in the “on” reflective state to compensate for laser and optical system inhomogeneity, and can be used at a variety of angles to simplify optical design. This makes the SLV a low cost and high performance device to design optics around.
The MEMS process used to make the SLV has also shown switching of wavelengths which few other devices on the market can handle, from carbon dioxide laser wavelengths of 10.6 microns at high power, to designs which function at short UV wavelengths with low losses. Arrays of up to one thousand elements have been developed, and further growth is readily possible.
In summary, the Spatial Light Valve offers a high speed and high throughput linear array of switch elements useful for a wide range of wavelengths and applications. If you would like to learn more, please contact us.
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» Spatial Light Valve Data Sheet