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Spectral and temporal phase response of selected types of liquid-crystal-on-silicon spatial light modulators were studied using femtosecond pulses, determining specific transfer functions of the devices. The phase response resulting from programed gray level distributions was detected by analyzing the diffraction characteristics and by spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction. The results indicate the appearance of distinct parameter ranges that enable minimum spatiotemporal distortion. Weak oscillations in the spectral phase are explained by Gires–Tournois resonances [F. Gires and P. Tournois, Acad. Sci. Paris, C. R. 258, 6112 (1964)].