Toptica Photonics AG - Sodium Star

SodiumStar – High-power guide star laser @ 589 nm

Designed for Adaptive Optics Control in Ground-based Telescopes

  • Guide star laser for adaptive optics systems
  • Excitation of atmospheric Sodium @ 589 nm
  • > 20 W cw output power, linewidth < 5 MHz
  • Medium power version available for laser cooling of Sodium
  • First commercial off-the-shelf sodium guide star laser for astronomical adaptive optics
  • Fully integrated turn-key system
  • Repumper integration for highest photon return
  • Commissioned and in science operation at ESO’s Very Large Telescope and Keck Observatory

The SodiumStar system is a high-power “guide star” laser designed for adaptive optics control in ground-based telescopes. It is based on resonant frequency doubling of an infrared DFB diode laser with subsequent Raman fiber amplifier. More than 20 W are attained at the Sodium wavelength of 589 nm, with a spectral width of 5 MHz. The DL RFA SHG pro, a modified, sub MHz linewidth version with moderate power is available for laser cooling experiments.

Guide star laser for adaptive optics system at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal, Chile. Challenges for laser operation: Altitude, earthquake-resistant design and gravity-invariant operation. TOPTICA's guide star laser delivers a constant output power of 22 W at 589 nm.

The SodiumStar and its team have been rewarded with the 2016 Laser Research Innovation Award presented by the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung and the 2017 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award of the Optical Society of America.