Toptica has unveiled the SodiumStar 20/2, a guide star laser that was developed jointly with MPB Communications, and is based on an approach pursued by the laser group of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
A preproduction unit has successfully undergone extensive qualification testing (performance, lifetime, climate chamber: high and low temperature, altitude, EMC, transport climate, shock and vibration) to prove that it is able to cope with the harsh environmental conditions at its final destination at Cerro Paranal, Chile.
Four of these SodiumStar lasers will be installed in 2013 as part of the adaptive optics system of ESO’s VLT. They are also considered as pathfinder installations for ESO’s E-ELT currently under planning.
The joint development of the SodiumStar 20/2 combined Toptica’s extensive experience in narrow-band tunable diode lasers, frequency stabilisation and frequency doubling with that of MPBC in high-power fibre lasers and Raman amplification. At the core of the SodiumStar 20/2
is a narrow-band Raman fibre amplifier (EFRA) based on the EFRA technology pioneered and patented by ESO. The EFRA amplifies the spectrally-narrow and tunable diode laser seed at 1178nm to approximately 35W of optical power. Efficient frequency conversion yields more than 20W of output power at the sodium resonance (589nm) with a linewidth of less than 5MHz.