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Fiber laser EYLSA on board CNES’ Zero-G aircraft

19 September 2014 Back


Quantel Laser today announced that its EYLSA™ Fiber Laser completed a series of atom cooling experiments on board the CNES Zero-G aircraft.

The standard, commercial 1W, 780 nm laser source was used as part of an atom cooling experiment conducted by the laboratoire LP2N in Bordeaux and by the CNES (the French national space agency) in order to prove the suitability and the reliability of the laser source for onboard and spatial applications. 

Ever since Chu, Cohen-Tannoudji and Phillips were awarded the Nobel Prize for their development of methodsto cool and trap atoms with laser light, the field has expanded rapidly, with researchers using the technique to study fundamental quantum effects that can only be observed very close to 0° Kelvin temperature.  This field has increased dramatically but has been limited by the complexity of the experimental setup and the associated lab-grade lasers and optical assemblies.  Quantel’s EYLSA™ Fiber Laser, built in a Master Oscillator Power Fiber Amplifier (MOPFA) architecture, replaces the mechanically-tuned, ECDL and tapered amplifier typical for such experiments.  The robust, plug-and-play fiber laser is based on proven telecom-gradecomponents, offering much longer lifetime and more rugged reliability than existing ECDL based systems.  This allows researchers to spend their time on the results of their atom cooling experiments rather than on maintaining the alignment and performance of the laser source.

“For our experiment, we needed to operate in 0G.  CNES’ Zero-G A-300 offers us this unique opportunity, but puts tremendous demands on the equipment as the aircraft cycles from zero gravity to hyper gravity again and again during a run.”  said Dr. Philippe Bouyer, Director of the LP2N laboratory, “Quantel’s EYLSA™ performed flawleessly and allowed us to complete our critical experiments.”

“Cold atom experiments have become more and more complicated and researchers do not want to waste time building or tweaking their laser source”, said David Pureur, General Manager of Quantel’s fiber laser division. “Obviously, not all our customers need to operate in such harsh environments, however, they certainly are seeking to simplify their atom cooling experiments.  The EYLSA™ allows them to spend their time on the experiment, not on the laser source.”

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