MEMS Grating Modulator Architecture

Broadband intensity modulation with the turn of a knob

How does it work?
The MEMS Grating Modulator is a reflective diffraction grating with controllable groove depth. It modulates intensity by switching between an unpowered flat mirror state and a powered diffractive state. Simply adjust the maximum depth of deflection and modulate the central intensity of your beam with high levels of extinction. This provides you with more control over light since you can modulate the power; this helps to ensure you gather the most accurate information when researching. Tools like this are vital to many scientific fields, including astronomy, microscopy, healthcare, and more.

Broad Wavelength Range
Each diffractive component is designed for optimal performance over a range of wavelengths. The longer the wavelength, the more deflection is needed to maintain high contrast between the modulated and un-modulated beam. The optical intensity modulator is a gold-coated membrane which enables wavelength modulation from the visible to the far infrared (FIR), with peak extinction in the visible and near infrared (NIR) with lower extinction in the FIR. To attain peak extinction, the user simply tunes the deflection at a given wavelength. The user can achieve this by using a well-conditioned high voltage source.

Fast Response Time = High Speed Modulation
Our MEMS Grating Modulators are wavelength adjustable and have a frequency range of DC to 200kHz with full modulation and higher speeds are possible with partial modulation. Use your MEMS Grating Modulator to replace a pockels cell or use it as a substitute for your acousto optic modulator (AOM) or electro-optic modulator (EOM) for applications that require higher throughput. MEMS Grating Modulators have proven versatility across various applications such as laser communication and multi-photon microscopy, and their performance can be customized to user specifications to replace or augment another component such as an acousto optic modulator.

Find Out More
The MEMS Grating Modulator can be found as both an integrated product and a stand-alone component and is for sale through Thorlabs. Choose from the Thorlabs Fast Power Modulator to provide high-speed intensity modulation and beam attenuation for your imaging application or the MEMS Grating Modulator component for more custom applications. Find out more below.

Making new discoveries is vital to scientific research, and with the best solutions, you can ensure that you have the intensity profile needed. With a MEMS Grating Modulator, you can modulate light as desired. We pride ourselves on creating partnerships rather than solely attracting customers. Reach out to us if you have questions about this product or need assistance from our professionals in determining which specific product or components are best for your application.

Purchase the MEMS Grating Modulator

Purchase the Thorlabs Fast Power Modulator

MEMS Grating Modulator

MEMS Grating Modulator

Boston Micromachines has taken our optical modulator technology and packaged it for flexible use as the MEMS Grating Modulator. This device can be used with a conditioned high voltage power source to enable diffractive modulation of an incident beam. Select the angle of incidence for your optical setup and modulate your beam of up to 6mm in diameter. This device is meant to be used in any setup and can be customized for higher volume applications. To purchase a standard model click here for the link to the Thorlabs website where you can place an order for this product.

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Thorlabs High Speed Laser Modulator

Fast Laser Power Modulator

The MEMS Grating Modulator component serves as the enabling component in the Thorlabs Fast Laser Power Modulator. By packaging the grating within a controlled enclosure, the user can adjust the modulator for optimal extinction. This can be used to replace other modulation technologies that are used for Multi-Photon Imaging at a fraction of the cost. Click here for more detailed information on the Thorlabs site.

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Custom MEMS Grating Modulator

Custom Modulator Applications

Contact BMC if you are interested in customizing our MEMS Grating Modulator. Changes that are easily designed are the target wavelength and packaging. Further customizations include extended wavelength range and improved response time. Boston Micromachines has also developed more sophisticated integrated components under development contracts for such applications as long-range laser communications. Contact BMC to find out more.

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MEMS Grating Modulator Standard Models

Specifications MGR6N MGR6P
Housing Dimensions (D x L)1 Ø1.30″ x 2.22″  Ø1.30″ x 2.22″
Reflective Coating1 Gold  Gold
Frequency Range 0 to 200 kHz 0 to 200 kHz
Rise/Fall Time: 90% – 10% <2.5 μs <2.5 μs
Rise/Fall Time: 97% – 3% <4 μs  <4 μs
Peak Extinction Ratio 2 250:1 at 1060 nm1 250:1 at 1350 nm1
Optimal Wavelength Range1 600 – 1100 nm 550 – 2400 nm
Angle-of-Incidence for Peak Extinction <10° (Lateral Incident Angle) <10° (Lateral Incident Angle)
Maximum Extinction Frequency Limit, -3 dBb 100 kHz  100 kHz
Active Aperture Ø6.0 mm Ø6.0 mm
Total Reflected Wavefront Error (P-V) λ/4  λ/4
Maximum Operating Voltage
(Device Dependent)
<200 V <200 V
Protective Window
Wavelength Range 650 – 1050 nm 550 – 2400 nm
Angle 10° 10°
Substrate N-BK7 N-BK7
Available from Thorlabs BMC
1. Custom options available upon request
2. Devices measured using 1060 nm light and 650 – 1050 nm AR-coated protective window.

Download the MEMS Grating Modulator Technology Whitepaper

Find out more about how the MEMS Grating Modulator works and how it can be customized for various applications. Whether you plan to use the device as part of a laboratory experiment or integrate the modulator into your OEM instrument, the MEMS Grating Modulator component is useful for a myriad of applications across a wide range of wavelengths. Check with Boston Micromachines and Thorlabs for the latest models available.

  • "[The BMC] modulator is advantageous over the acousto-optic types because it is free from the dispersion effects and delivers better spatial resolution for the focused laser."

    Byung Hee Son, Researcher

    Department of Physics and Department of Energy Systems Research, Ajou University, Suwon 443-749, Korea

    Son BH, Park JK, Hong JT, Park JY, Lee S, Ahn YH. Imaging ultrafast carrier transport in nanoscale field-effect transistors. ACS Nano. 2014;8(11):11361‐11368. doi:10.1021/nn5042619

We can design a better modulator for you

When it comes to finding solutions for your application, MEMS grating modulators are not one size fits all. Our team at Boston Micromachines Corporation will take your unique specifications and customize a modulator that best suits your needs. Get in touch with us to create a quote.