The fabrication and characterization of an optically addressable deformable mirror for spatial light modulator is described. Device operation utilizes an electrostatically driven pixellated aluminized polymeric membrane mirror supported above an optically controlled photoconductive GaAs substrate. A 5-μm thick grid of patterned photoresist supports the 2-μm thick aluminized Mylar membrane. A conductive ZnO layer is placed on the backside of the GaAs wafer. Similar devices were also fabricated with InP. A standard Michelson interferometer is used to measure mirror deformation data as a function of illumination, applied voltage and frequency. A simplified analysis of device operation is also presented.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.