TOPTICA’s Laser Development Successfully Completed as Pathfinder for Future Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs)
March 28, 2014: Over the course of the last three years, TOPTICA has developed a new generation of sodium guide star lasers to be deployed at ESO’s Adaptive Optics Facility at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Paranal, Chile. Until August 2014, TOPTICA will complete the delivery of four such lasers plus one spare unit to the European Southern Observatory (ESO), hoping for first light on the sky in Paranal in early 2015.
The newly developed laser systems consist of a narrow band and tun-able diode laser with 50 mW output power at 1178 nm, a Raman Fiber Amplifier stage developed by MPB Communications of Canada and a subsequent resonant frequency doubling stage. The output frequency is actively locked to a high resolution precision wavelength meter (HighFi-nesse GmbH). The work was performed under a multi-year ESO devel-opment contract using the ESO EFRA license for the amplifier step.