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25 October 2004 Implementation of the Chicago sum frequency laser at Palomar laser guide star test bed
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Work is underway at the University of Chicago and Caltech Optical Observatories to implement a sodium laser guide star adaptive optics system for the 200 inch Hale telescope at Palomar Observatory. The Chicago sum frequency laser (CSFL) consists of two pulsed, diode-pumped, mode-locked Nd:YAG lasers working at 1.064 micron and 1.32 micron wavelengths. Light from the two laser beams is mixed in a non-linear crystal to produce radiation centered at 589 nm with a spectral width of 1.0 GHz (FWHM) to match that of the Sodium-D2 line. Currently the 1.064 micron and 1.32 micron lasers produce 14 watts and 8 watts of TEM-00 power respectively. The laser runs at 500 Hz rep. rate with 10% duty cycle. This pulse format is similar to that of the MIT-Lincoln labs and allows range gating of unwanted Rayleigh scatter down an angle of 60 degrees to zenith angle. The laser system will be kept in the Coude lab and will be projected up to a laser launch telescope (LLT) bore-sited to the Hale telescope. The beam-transfer optics, which conveys the laser beam from the Coude lab to the LLT, consists of motorized mirrors that are controlled in real time using quad-cell positioning systems. This needs to be done to prevent laser beam wander due to deflections of the telescope while tracking. There is a central computer that monitors the laser beam propagation up to the LLT, the interlocks and safety system status, laser status and actively controls the motorized mirrors. We plan to install a wide-field visible camera (for high flying aircraft) and a narrow field of view (FoV) IR camera (for low-flying aircraft) as part of our aircraft avoidance system.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Viswa Velur, Edward Joseph Kibblewhite, Richard G. Dekany, Mitchell Troy, Hal L. Petrie, Robert P. Thicksten, Gary Brack, Thang Trin, and Matthew Cheselka "Implementation of the Chicago sum frequency laser at Palomar laser guide star test bed", Proc. SPIE 5490, Advancements in Adaptive Optics, (25 October 2004);

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