Laser diodes from eagleyard help Gaia satellite map Milky Way

Sept. 18, 2016
Laser diodes from eagleyard Photonics are helping Gaia fulfill its mission to accurately map the Milky Way.

Gallium-arsenide (GaAs)-based laser diode manufacturer eagleyard Photonics (Berlin Adlershof, Germany) announced that two of its laser diodes are working on board at the European Space Agency's (ESA's) billion-star surveyor Gaia. eagleyard says its single-frequency laser diodes DFB-852 in a 14-pin butterfly housing are responsible for keeping the two telescopes in the right position to achieve Gaia's mission to create the most accurate 3D map yet of the Milky Way.

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Launched 1000 days ago, Gaia started its scientific work in July 2014. The fully qualified laser diodes provided by eagleyard were shipped to the end-customer to be integrated in their system back in 2010. The first catalog of more than a billion stars from ESA's Gaia satellite has now been published and is an indicator of the richer catalog of stars to come in the near future. This first release is based on data collected during its first 14 months of scanning the sky, up to September 2015.

On its way to assembling the most detailed 3D map ever made of our Milky Way galaxy, Gaia has pinned down the precise position on the sky and the brightness of 1142 million stars. It also features the distances and the motions across the sky for more than two million stars.

At the ESA website you will find detailed information about this mission; see More information about the single-frequency laser diodes is found on the eagleyard website at

SOURCE: eagleyard Photonics;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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