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Toptica awarded major contract for Sodium Guide Star Facility

Orange Laser Guide Star in operation at the Very Large Telescope VLT of ESO, on the top of mountain Cerro Paranal in Chile.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at Paranal, Chile, will be equipped with four cw high power Laser Guide Stars on the basis of amplified and frequency-doubled diode laser systems. Narrow band and diffraction-limited laser light sources of more than 20 W exactly on Sodium resonance at 589 nm start a new phase at the European Southern Observatory. Against strong international competitors, TOPTICA won now the final development and supply contract which foresees a deployment of the lasers at the telescope in Sept 2013.

TOPTICA, drawing on its many years of experience in the field of narrow band and tunable diode laser, has joined forces with the Canadian company MPB Communications. A combination of a novel narrow-band Raman fiber amplifier approach at 1178 nm developed by MPBC subsequently is converted to 589 nm by resonantly enhanced frequency-doubling technology. Based on TOPTICA’s scientific product series, conversion efficiencies of more than 80 % have been demonstrated.

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