Wavelength-Stabilized Lasers Ensure Optical Performance in Space
As made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope’s spherical aberration problem and subsequent repair in 1993, Optical Ground Support Equipment (OGSE) is vital to the success of any space-bound optical equipment. Whether it is taking detailed images of the cosmos or enabling a high data rate for optical free-space communications, ensuring that equipment will function as designed prior to launch is critical. One of Access Laser’s customers was tasked with measuring the optical performance of an optical instrument in space. This instrument needed to operate in the midwave infrared and longwave infrared range with extreme spectral purity and stability.
One major problem was the natural wavelength cascading emission typical of carbon monoxide lasers for producing light in the mid-infrared domain. Additionally, providing the high level of frequency stability necessary for use in the OGSE system necessitated rigid laser cavities with low thermal drift.
Access Laser’s contribution was to provide ultra-stable light sources at the specified wavelengths necessary for testing and measuring the system that would be launched into space. AL50-GS-CO and Merit-LST lasers met these demanding requirements and provided the performance needed.
After qualifying the lasers for the required performance standards, the OGSE system has been operating as expected. This success allows successful testing, qualifying, and validation of the instruments, including very high-resolution telescopes. Enabling the validation of optimum performance for instruments integrated into satellites is a strategic imperative for manufacturers. By supplying companies like these with the tools required to validate complex systems on the cutting edge of technology, Access Laser continues to offer state-of-the-art innovative solutions.
To request more information or a quotation for Access Laser products, contact IL Photonics.