The proposed ASIC driver, featuring a voltage-resolution of 16-bit or beyond, is specifically designed to drive a stacked DM, which NASA has been qualified in ground. It could provide a reliable, low power, monolithic DM driver that can be used by an exoplanet-imaging coronagraph. Thus, it could be found valuable in applications on those missions, such as ATLAST and WFIRST-AFTA. Future space missions require more advanced DMs that the current market cannot supply. With the scalable ASIC drivers available, more advanced DMs could be produced in aspects of (1) higher actuator count to 128x128, (2) higher actuator count DMs with better yield, controllability, and reliability.
The first beneficiaries of the ASIC drivers are the DM manufacturers. With a vertically integrated ASIC driver, the fabrication of a DM will be greatly simplified as thousands of wire bonding and cabling will no longer be required. Thus, the yield and reliability will be improved. Furthermore, with a simplified architecture, DMs with tens thousands of actuators will become possible. Another main potential non-NASA application is the scanning microscopic fidelity imaging where a compact DM is used to correct optical aberrations in the field of bio-science. Non-NASA applications for deformable mirrors also include laser beam shaping, laser communication in free space and retinal imaging.