A relief spatial optical modulator converts an input electrical (or optical) signal into a deformed, light-reflecting surface whose deformation at each point corresponds to the two-dimensional power distribution of the supplied signal. This paper describes a prototype of an optically controllable seven-channel relief optical modulator, with a large deformation amplitude, up to 10 µm, of the light-reflecting surface. The main characteristics of the electromechanical and optical elements of the modulator are presented, and the prospects of the practical use of relief optical modulators are briefly considered. © 2003 Optical Society of America

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