"One product, one process": This MEMS law is true for micro-optical modulators, too and thus puts a high load on every
product and technology development team. On the other hand the law expresses nothing but the high versatility of the
underlying usually silicon based technology. A huge variety of applications where an electromagnetic wave experiences
a spatial-temporal modulation makes use of this technology: High resolution as well as ultra-compact displays, optical
switches in telecommunication as well as data storage devices, spectrometers e. g. for quality control, as well as adaptive
optics and pattern generation to mention only a few. The applications completely differ with regard to the requirements
in almost all aspects. The most important drivers to use silicon based micro-optical modulators are high accuracy, high
bandwidth and high miniaturization. A continuous further development of the technology can be reported. Novel optical,
mechanical and electrical working principles are investigated to meet future requirements.
After a short overview of the most typical applications of silicon based micro-optical modulators the high versatility of
this technology is detailed by means of selected devices and applications. Single 1D and 2D micro mirrors with
diameters of up to 4 mm e. g. for projection, imaging and spectroscopy are as well presented and discussed as micro
mirror arrays comprising up to 1 million analog deflectable mirrors for image generation and phase modulation in
microlithography and adaptive optics.