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First Guide Star Laser Accepted by ESO

Montreal, March 28th, 2014

MPB Communications Inc. of Pointe Claire Canada in collaboration with Toptica Photonics AG of Munich Germany is pleased to announce the acceptance of the first “next generation” Guide Star Laser based on fiber laser technology by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

The new compact 22-watt laser is the first of four lasers (plus one spare) ordered by ESO and will form part of the 4 Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF), to be installed as a subsystem of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) on UT4 of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Paranal, Chile.

In the new laser design, the narrow-band 1178-nm emission from a Toptica 30-mW diode laser is amplified to the 40-W level in a polarization-maintaining (PM) Raman fiber amplifier (RFA) pumped by a 100 W-class PM fiber laser, both from MPBC. The polarized output of the RFA is then frequency doubled in a Toptica resonant doubler to provide 22 W at the desired sodium resonance wavelength of 589 nm.

The PM RFA is an adaptation of the narrow-band RFA technology developed by ESO. The key challenge in amplifying a narrow-band signal to such high power levels in an RFA is overcoming the limitation imposed by Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS), a non-linear optical effect. 

First Guide Star
The first 22-watt sodium laser of the Adaptive Optics Facility

The unique design of MPBC’s RFA pump laser allows the compact laserhead (containing the RFA and doubler stage) and the larger electronics cabinet (containing the pump laser, seed laser, power supply and other electronic modules) to be mounted up to 27 m apart, thereby providing unprecedented flexibility for installation on telescopes.

“The new fiber-based guide star lasers represent a paradigm shift in performance, operational simplicity, compactness, maintenance and reliability and they are eagerly awaited by ESO and other astronomical telescopes,” says Dr. Wallace Clements, Director of Engineering at MPBC.

“MPB Communications Inc. is a Licensee of the ESO Fiber Raman Amplifier Technology developed and transferred by ESO (www.eso.org)”.

MPB Communications Inc. is a privately owned company specializing in high technology products, systems and services.  Since its formation in 1976, the company has expanded into a number of technology based areas of expertise: fiber laser products, photonics and optical fiber communications technology as well as services in the area of compliance testing of products.