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MEMs-Based Deformable Mirrors


Deformable Mirrors

  • MEMs-Based Deformable Mirrors
  • 6 x 6 and 12 x 12 Actuator Arrays in Stock, 32 x 32 Actuator Array Available
  • Gold or Aluminum-Coated Mirror



  • 32 (Mini-DM) or 140 (Multi-DM) Actuator Models Available Below
  • 1020 (Kilo-DM) Actuator Model Available Through Boston Micromachines Corporation
  • 3.5 μm Maximum Actuator Displacement
  • 400 μm Center-to-Center Actuator Spacing and Low Inter-Actuator Coupling Results in High Spatial Resolution
  • Actuator Stroke with Zero Hysteresis
  • 14 Bit Drive Electronics Yields Sub-Nanometer Repeatability
  • Compact Driver Electronics with Built-In High Voltage Power Supply Suitable for Benchtop or OEM Integration
  • Operating Wavelengths: 400 - 1100 nm for Al-Coated DM or 600 - 1100 nm for Au-Coated DM
  • Protective Window with 6° Wedge and Broadband Antireflection Coating (400 - 1100 nm)

Through our partnership with Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC), Thorlabs is pleased to offer BMC's Mini-DM and Multi-DM micromachined deformable mirror systems for advanced optical control. To facilitate installation and setup, each package includes the deformable mirror, driver, and control software. These mirrors are capable of changing shape in order to correct a highly distorted incident wavefront (Refer to theTypes of Aberrations tab to learn more about the aberrations that a DM can correct). Micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) deformable mirrors are currently the most widely used technology in wavefront shaping applications given their versatility, maturity of technology, and the high resolution wavefront correction that they afford.

These popular and versatile DMs, which are fabricated using polysilicon surface micromachining fabrication methods, offer sophisticated aberration compensation in easy-to-use packages. The mirror consists of a mirror membrane that is deformed by either 32 electrostatic actuators (i.e., a 6 x 6 actuator array with four inactive corner actuators in the case of the Mini-DM) or 140 electrostatic actuators (i.e., a 12 x 12 actuator array with four inactive corner actuators in the case of the Multi-DM), each of which can be individually controlled. These actuators provide 3.5 μm stroke over a compact area. In addition, the Kilo-DM with 1020 actuators (i.e. a 32 x 32 actuator array with four inactive corner actuators) is available through Boston Micromachines Corporation. The Kilo-DM deformable mirror actuators provide 1.5 µm stroke. Unlike piezoelectric mirrors, the electrostatic actuation used with BMC's mirrors ensures deformation without hysteresis.

The Mini-DM, Multi-DM, and Kilo-DM are available with either a gold- or aluminum-coated mirror. All three deformable mirror product lines have a protective 6o wedge in front of the mirror with a broadband AR coating for the 400-1100 nm range (Refer to the Graphs tab for coating curve information. Please contact tech support if you have an interest in a different coating range). Although the use of DMs in astronomy is well known, these miniature, precision wavefront control devices are also helping researchers to make breakthroughs in beam forming, microscopy, laser communication, and retinal imaging.


Choosing a DM for Your Application:
Ideally, the deformable mirror needs to assume a surface shape that is conjugate to the aberration profile in order to compensate for the aberrations present. However, the actual range of wavefronts that can be corrected by a particular deformable mirror is limited by the actuator stroke and resolution, the number and distribution of actuators, and the model used to determine the appropriate control signals for the DM; the first two are physical limitations of the deformable mirror itself, whereas the last one is a limitation of the control software utilized.

The actuator stroke is another term for the dynamic range (i.e., the maximum displacement) of the DM actuators and is typically measured in microns. Inadequate actuator stroke leads to poor performance and can prevent the convergence of the control loop.

Close-up of Multi-DM showing electrical wiring
DM Electrical Interface

The number of actuators determines the number of degrees of freedom that the mirror can correct for. Although many different actuator arrays have been proposed, including square, triangular, and hexagonal, most deformable mirrors are built with square actuator arrays, which are easy to position on a Cartesian coordinate system and map easily to the square detector arrays found on wavefront sensors. To fit the square array on a circular aperture, the corner actuators are often inactive.

Adaptive Optics:
The deformable mirror is one of the three main components that comprise an adaptive optics (AO) system. Such systems are used to correct (shape) the wavefront of a beam of light. Together with a wavefront sensor and control software, the DM forms a closed-loop system that is capable of actively correcting phase aberrations in real time .

Traditionally, these systems were used by the international astronomy and US defense communities, but they are a great addition to any field that would benefit from being able to control the phase of light. Today, the use of adaptive optics has permeated into a multitude of fields including femtosecond pulse shaping, microscopy, laser communication, vision correction, and retinal imaging.


Item #DM32-35-UM01DM32-35-UP01DM140-35-UM01DM140-35-UP01Kilo-DM**
Actuator Array 6 x 6 12 x 12 32 x 32
Actuator Stroke (Max.) 3.5 µm 1.5 µm
Actuator Pitch 400 µm 300 µm
Clear Aperture 2.0 mm x 2.0 mm 4.4 mm x 4.4 mm 9.3 mm x 9.3 mm
Mirror Coating Gold Aluminum Gold Aluminum Gold or Aluminum
Average Step Size <1 nm
Hysteresis None
Fill Factor >99%
Mechanical Response Time (10% - 90%) <100 μs (~3.5 kHz) <20 μs
Surface Quality <20 nm (RMS)
Driver Specifications
Frame Rate (Max.) 8 kHz (34 kHz bursts) Up to 60 kHz
Resolution 14 Bit
Driver Dimensions 4.0" x 5.25" x 1.25"
(102 mm x 133 mm x 32 mm)
9.0" x 7.0" x 2.5"
(229 mm x 178 mm x 64 mm)
19.0" x 18.5" x 5.25"
(483 mm x 470 mm x 133 mm)
Computer Interface USB2.0 PCI Card

*The four corner actuators are inactive (i.e., the DM32 series has 32 active actuators, the DM140 series has 140, and the Kilo-DM series has 1020.)
**The Kilo-DM is available through Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC)



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