Atom experiments carried out by the International Space Station suppose many preparations, herewith, integrated fiber laser systems are very important for this mission. Researchers plan to perform a cold atom experiment out of the laboratory and into microgravity.
To be more precise, these plans need large improvements in the following elements: laser systems, optics, and electronics. Herewith, these fiber lasers have to be compact and maintain the environmental challenges of a satellite launch. Therefore, fiber laser systems are considered to be very promising for space missions with cold atom experiments.
It should be noted that laser systems used for cooling and trapping have been presented by German researchers. Moreover, their partners promote fiber laser integration, while others provide electronics and other laser modules. The thing is that they use micro-integrated diode laser systems that are installed at the center for trapping and cooling atoms.
Additionally, “a standard diode-laser module as developed at FBH delivers more than 1 W at 780 nm out of a 40 g module.” The fiber laser system has been already tested and demonstrated a long lifetime of 100,000 h mean-time-to-failure. The laser system can withstand extreme temperature changes ( -55° to 85°C).
These diode-laser modules promote the development of complex fiber lasers for various experiments in microgravity. Laser systems with an external cavity offer a high level of spectral purity and stability. This type of fiber laser is installed into a master-oscillator-power-amplifier.
Herewith, it is possible to tune different wavelengths of these laser modules. Thus, they are widely used in a series of missions. The success of the whole experiment depends on the design and production of reliable, compact, and complex fiber laser systems.
Finally, this experiment is very potential. It is necessary to install several fiber lasers, the required optics, and control electronics for a significantly complex system. Moreover, they can be applied in smaller satellites. Such an integrated laser system includes a rubidium vapor cell for cold atom experiments.
The combination of fiber laser systems with an optical frequency comb allows applying them in small and simple vapor-cell-based clocks. The application of complex fiber laser technology, as well as monochromatic systems, advances the step-wise qualification of cold-atom experiments for space flights.
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