We present a laser technology development with space flight heritage to generate laser wavelengths in the near- to midinfrared (NIR to MIR) for space lidar applications. Integrating an optical parametric crystal to the LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) laser transmitter design affords selective laser wavelengths from NIR to MIR that are not easily obtainable from traditional diode pumped solid-state lasers. By replacing the output coupler of the LOLA laser with a properly designed parametric crystal, we successfully demonstrated a monolithic intra-cavity optical parametric oscillator (iOPO) laser based on all high technology readiness level (TRL) subsystems and components. Several desired wavelengths have been generated including 2.1 µm, 2.7 μm and 3.4 μm. This laser can also be used in trace-gas remote sensing, as many molecules possess their unique vibrational transitions in NIR to MIR wavelength region, as well as in time-of-flight mass spectrometer where desorption of samples using MIR laser wavelengths have been successfully demonstrated
Steven X. Li, Anthony W. Yu, Xiaoli Sun, Molly E. Fahey, Kenji Numata, and Michael A. Krainak, "A multi-wavelength IR laser for space applications," Proc. SPIE 10191, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXII, 101910L (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 5 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262391.
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