Eastman Kodak Company has developed a diffractive-MEMS spatial-light modulator for use in printing and display applications, the grating electromechanical system (GEMS). This modulator contains a linear array of pixels capable of high-speed digital operation, high optical contrast, and good efficiency. The device operation is based on deflection of electromechanical ribbons suspended above a silicon substrate by a series of intermediate supports. When electrostatically actuated, the ribbons conform to the supporting substructure to produce a surface-relief phase grating over a wide active region. The device is designed to be binary, switching between a reflective mirror state having suspended ribbons and a diffractive grating state having ribbons in contact with substrate features. Switching times of less than 50 nanoseconds with sub-nanosecond jitter are made possible by reliable contact-mode operation. The GEMS device can be used as a high-speed digital-optical modulator for a laser-projection display system by collecting the diffracted orders and taking advantage of the low jitter. A color channel is created using a linear array of individually addressable GEMS pixels. A two-dimensional image is produced by sweeping the line image of the array, created by the projection optics, across the display screen. Gray levels in the image are formed using pulse-width modulation (PWM). A high-resolution projection display was developed using three 1080-pixel devices illuminated by red, green, and blue laser-color primaries. The result is an HDTV-format display capable of producing stunning still and motion images with very wide color gamut.