ESO contracts with Toptica for Extremely Large Telescope lasers

Dec. 19, 2017
Toptica, in partnership with MPB Communications, will build at least four laser sources for the ELT.

IMAGE. Artist’s rendering shows ELT in operation on Cerro Armazones, northern Chile. The telescope is shown using lasers to create artificial stars high in the atmosphere. The first stone ceremony for the telescope was 26 May 2017. (Credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has signed a new agreement with Toptica Photonics (Munich, Germany) for the production of lasers to be used in ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) adaptive optics system. Toptica, in partnership with MPB Communications (Pointe-Claire, QC, Canada), will build at least four laser sources for the ELT, helping the telescope to achieve unprecedented spatial resolution for an optical/infrared ground-based telescope. The ELT is scheduled to see first light in 2024.

The laser system for the adaptive optics system on the ELT will be based on the Four Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF) on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The Adaptive Optics Facility, which uses the 4LGSF, has already shown spectacular improvement in image sharpness on the VLT. The Toptica/MPBC Guidestar Alliance was the main contractor for the laser system on the VLT.

RELATED ARTICLE: ESO's Very Large Telescope sees four times first (laser) light – cover story of July 2016 issue, by members of Toptica and ESO

RELATED ARTICLE: ESO's Adaptive Optics Facility for the Very Large Telescope sees first light, early results, by senior editor John Wallace

Toptica is responsible for the laser system engineering and contributes its diode and frequency-conversion technology. The work will be executed by Toptica Projects, which focuses on specialized laser systems such as laser guide stars. The construction of the high-powered Raman fiber amplifiers and fiber laser pump modules will be performed by MPB Communications. The ELT is designed to potentially have up to eight laser guide star systems in future.

Source: ESO

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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