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28 February 2006 High-power solid-state sodium guidestar laser for the Gemini North Observatory
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We report on the first successful installation of a commercial solid-state sodium guidestar laser system (GLS). The GLS developed at LMCT was delivered to Gemini North Observatory in February of 2005. The laser is a single beacon system that implements a novel laser architecture and represents a critical step towards addressing the need of the astronomy and military adaptive optics (AO) communities for a robust turn-key commercial GLS. The laser was installed on the center section of the 8 m Gemini North telescope, with the output beam relayed to a laser launch telescope located behind the 1 m diameter secondary mirror. The laser went through a three week performance evaluation between November and December 2005 wherein it consistently generated 12 W average power with measured M2 < 1.1 while locked to the D2 line at +/- 100 MHz. The system was required to perform during a 12-hour test period during three runs of 4-6 consecutive nights each. The laser architecture is based on continuous wave (CW) mode-locked solid-state lasers. The mode-locked format enables more efficient SFG conversion, and dispenses with complex resonant intensity enhancement systems and injection-locking electronics. The linearly-polarized, near-diffraction-limited, modelocked 1319 nm and 1064 nm pulses are generated in separate dual-head diode-pumped resonators. The two IR pulses are input into a single-stage, 30 mm PPSLT sum-frequency generation (SFG) crystal provided by Physical Science, Inc. Visible (589 nm) power of >16 W have been generated, representing a conversion efficiency of 40%.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Allen J. Tracy, Allen K. Hankla, Camilo A. Lopez, David Sadighi, Ken Groff, Céline d'Orgeville, Michael Sheehan, Douglas J. Bamford, Scott J. Sharpe, and David J. Cook "High-power solid-state sodium guidestar laser for the Gemini North Observatory", Proc. SPIE 6100, Solid State Lasers XV: Technology and Devices, 61001H (28 February 2006);


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