The grating light valve (GLV) technology is a micromechanical phase grating. By providing controlled diffraction of incident light, a GLV device will produce bright or dark pixels in a display system. With pulse width modulation, a GLV device will produce precise gray-scale or color variations. Built using micro electromechanical system technology, and designed to be manufactured using mainstream IC fabrication technology, the GLV device can be made both small and inexpensively. A variety of display systems can be built using GLV technology each benefiting form the high contrast ratio, fill ratio, and brightness of this technology. In addition, GLV technology can provide high resolution, low power consumption, and digital gray-scale and color reproduction.