27 July 2016 Polarization switching of sodium guide star laser for brightness enhancement
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Abstract
The efficiency of optical pumping that enhances the brightness of sodium laser guide star with circularly polarized light is reduced substantially due to the precession of sodium atoms in geomagnetic field. Switching the laser between left and right circular polarization at the Larmor frequency is proposed to improve the photon return. With ESO's cw laser guide star system at Paranal as example, numerical simulation for both square-wave and sine-wave polarization modulation is conducted. For the square-wave switching case, the return flux is increased when the angle between geomagnetic field and laser beam is larger than 60°, as much as 40% at 90°. The method can also be applied for remote measurement of magnetic field with available cw guide star laser.
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Tingwei Fan, Tianhua Zhou, Yan Feng, "Polarization switching of sodium guide star laser for brightness enhancement", Proc. SPIE 9909, Adaptive Optics Systems V, 99095F (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2229514; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2229514
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