27 July 2016 Vapor cell based sodium laser guide star mechanism study lab-bench
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Abstract
Sodium laser guide star (LGS) is the key for the success of modern adaptive optics (AO) supported large ground based telescopes, however, for many field applications, Sodium LGS’s brightness is still a limited factor. Large amounts of theoretical efforts have been paid to optimize Sodium LGS exciting parameters, that is, to fully discover potential of harsh environment surrounding mesospheric extreme thin sodium atoms under resonant excitation, whether quantum or Monte Carlo based. But till to now, only limited proposals are demonstrated with on-sky test due to the high cost and engineering complexities. To bridge the gap between theoretical modeling and on-sky test, we built a magnetic field controllable sodium cell based lab-bench, which includes a small scale sum-frequency single mode 589nm laser, with added amplitude, polarization, and phase modulators. We could perform quantitative resonant fluorescence study under single, multi-frequency, side-band optical re-pumping exciting with different polarization, also we could perform optical field modulation to study Larmor precession which is considered as one of devils of Sodium LGS, and we have the ability to generate beams contain orbital angular moment. Our preliminary sodium cell based optical re-pumping experiments have shown excellent consistence with Bloch equation predicted results, other experimental results will also be presented in the report, and these results will give a direct support that sodium cell based lab-bench study could help a Sodium LGS scientists a lot before their on-sky test.
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Hongyan Wang, Lihang Li, Ruiyao Luo, Lei Li, Yu Ning, Fengjie Xi, Xiaojun Xu, "Vapor cell based sodium laser guide star mechanism study lab-bench", Proc. SPIE 9909, Adaptive Optics Systems V, 99095O (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232583; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232583
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