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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Highly stable Zerodur based optical benches for microgravity applications and other adverse environments
Author(s): J. P. Marburger; Moritz Mihm; Ortwin Hellmig; André Wenzlawski; Patrick Windpassinger

Paper Abstract

A number of cold atom experiments are restrained by the impeding effects of gravity. While efforts have been made to overcome these limitations in a gravitational environment, another approach is placing the experiment in a microgravity environment, as can be found aboard sounding rockets, satellites or a space station.
The cornerstone of such experiments is a robust laser system. The adverse conditions during a rocket launch impose stringent requirements on thermal stability and resilience against mechanical stress on this part of the experimental setup. Furthermore, the very limited space found on any of the aforementioned microgravity platforms necessitates maximal miniaturization.
In order to meet these requirements, we have developed a technology based on miniaturized free-space optics, mounted onto optical benches made from Zerodur, a glass-ceramic which exhibits a vanishing first order coefficient of thermal expansion. The technology has already been successfully implemented in the sounding rocket missions FOKUS, KALEXUS and MAIUS−1. It will also be used in the upcoming MAIUS−2/3 sounding rocket missions. To meet the even more restrictive size and mass constraints of the NASA-DLR Bose-Einstein Condensate and Cold Atom Laboratory (BECCAL) mission, a quantum optics multi-user facility aboard the International Space Station, we are currently investigating a new and improved design concept. While being motivated by these missions, our technology can be expanded to any other experimental field where a small and robust laser system is needed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 1118052 (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2536101
Show Author Affiliations
J. P. Marburger, Johannes Gutenberg Univ. Mainz (Germany)
Moritz Mihm, Johannes Gutenberg Univ. Mainz (Germany)
Ortwin Hellmig, Institut für LaserPhysik (Germany)
André Wenzlawski, Johannes Gutenberg Univ. Mainz (Germany)
Patrick Windpassinger, Johannes Gutenberg Univ. Mainz (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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