npsm 새물리 New Physics : Sae Mulli

pISSN 0374-4914 eISSN 2289-0041


Research Paper

New Phys.: Sae Mulli 2019; 69: 1257-1262

Published online December 31, 2019

Copyright © New Physics: Sae Mulli.

Spatial Light Modulator Used as Diffraction Apertures for Advanced Optics Study

Dohyeong JANG, Dongryul JEON*

Department of Physics Education, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea


Received: September 16, 2019; Revised: October 28, 2019; Accepted: October 28, 2019

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Light diffraction requires submillimeter-size apertures. The usual method to make diffraction apertures of various shapes is a photography technique for reducing the size of the aperture pattern to a submillimeter level. Because this method requires much effort and time, we here show that a spatial light modulator (SLM) can serve as a ready-to-use diffraction aperture. Because the pixels of the liquid crystal panel of a SLM can be controlled individually by a simple software to either pass or block the light, one can realize a diffraction aperture of any shape. We tested circular square and hexagonal apertures using a SLM and confirmed that the diffraction patterns agreed with the simulated patterns. The diffraction pattern produced by using a double helix aperture, which is a more complicated shape, looked similar to the X-ray diffraction pattern of DNA. Diffraction is an important tool for structural analysis, but determining the real structure from a diffraction pattern is not easy. For that reason, we suggest that SLM apertures may be a handy and practical tool for teaching and learning about diffraction theory.

Keywords: Spatial light modulator, Diffraction aperture, Diffraction pattern, Double helix diffraction, Diffraction simulation

Stats or Metrics

Share this article on :

Related articles in NPSM