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Proceedings Paper

High-power solid-state sodium guidestar laser for the Gemini North Observatory
Author(s): Allen J. Tracy; Allen K. Hankla; Camilo A. Lopez; David Sadighi; Ken Groff; Céline d'Orgeville; Michael Sheehan; Douglas J. Bamford; Scott J. Sharpe; David J. Cook
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Paper Abstract

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%.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 February 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6100, Solid State Lasers XV: Technology and Devices, 61001H (28 February 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.659910
Show Author Affiliations
Allen J. Tracy, Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (United States)
Allen K. Hankla, Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (United States)
Camilo A. Lopez, Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (United States)
David Sadighi, Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (United States)
Ken Groff, Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (United States)
Céline d'Orgeville, Gemini Observatory (United States)
Michael Sheehan, Gemini Observatory (United States)
Douglas J. Bamford, Physical Sciences, Inc. (United States)
Scott J. Sharpe, Physical Sciences Inc. (United States)
David J. Cook, Physical Sciences Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6100:
Solid State Lasers XV: Technology and Devices
Hanna J. Hoffman; Ramesh K. Shori, Editor(s)

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