SOURCE: Boston Micromachines

March 29, 2010 08:00 ET

Boston Micromachines Develops Low Power Modulating Retro-Reflector for the United States Army

Technology Enables Asymmetric Free Space Covert Communications and Remote Sensor Integration

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - March 29, 2010) -  Boston Micromachines Corporation, a leading provider of MEMS-based optical products for wavefront control systems, announced today that it has developed a modulating retro-reflector (MRR) for asymmetric free space covert communication and remote sensor integration. Developed in conjunction with Boston University's College of Engineering, the compact, portable, ultra-low power, and light-weight MRR was developed for the United States Army.

The MRR allows for long range ground and air-based communication and can be used in a variety of military and non-military applications including battlefield communications, naval situations such as ship-to-ship, and satellite-to-ground station data transfer.

"Optical communication has emerged as a critical need for military operations in situations where conventional radio frequency (RF) channels could be disrupted or unavailable for use," said Paul Bierden, president and CEO of Boston Micromachines. "Our MRR technology is ideal for situations where conventional free space optical communication hardware cannot be supported due to its size and power consumption. Using extremely low power, our MRRs could be deployed in remote locations, where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to position a traditional optical communications node. Also, weighing only 9 oz., our MRRs could be positioned on a person, soldier or elsewhere, allowing for covert, secure communication."

Boston Micromachines' MRR employs its MEMS modulator mounted in a hollow corner cube retro-reflector for passively reflecting and modulating an interrogating laser source. The modulator mirror is controlled using new resonant, power scavenging high-voltage drive electronics that are capable of 24-hour continuous operation at 180kHz data rates on a single 9V battery.

Development for the MRR was funded by an award from the Department of Defense through the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR).

About Boston Micromachines Corporation
Founded in 1999, Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC) is the leading provider of advanced microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based mirror products for use in commercial adaptive optics systems. By applying wavefront correction to produce high resolution images, BMC devices can be used for imaging biological tissue and the human retina and to enhance images blurred by the earth's atmosphere. The company's suite of award-winning compact deformable mirror (DM) products is the most cost-effective, highest performance mirror product suite in the market today. They are widely used to drive scientific discovery in astronomy, laser beam shaping, microscopy, vision science, and support a variety of defense applications. Customers include NASA, UC Berkeley, Lockheed Martin and Boston University. Located in Cambridge, MA, BMC is privately held and offers custom-designed manufacturing services in addition to its portfolio of standard DM products. For more information on BMC, please visit

Contact Information

  • For More Information:
    Laura MacSweeney
    Red Javelin Communications
    Email Contact
    (781) 395-6420