NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 17.01-9535

PROJECT TITLE: Ultra-Stable 1.3-micron Lasers for Precision Metrology

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

We propose a new configuration for a 1.3-m single-frequency, diode-pumped solid state laser in which the gain element is a birefringent crystal within a linear resonator. In Phase I, the proposed configuration would be adapted to the 1.3-m transition in Nd:Vanadate to produce a suitable source for precision laser metrology at a wavelength where silicon photodetectors are insensitive. Dispersion introduced by the crystal restricts oscillation to a single longitudinal mode while precession of the polarization state reduces spatial hole burning. The latter effect improves both the efficiency of operation and the robustness of the line-selection mechanism. This will be the first demonstration of this effect in a laser host other than YLF, and at this wavelength. In terms of long-term frequency stability, external-resonator geometries have advantages compared to monolithic structures because of a superior tolerance to fluctuations in pump power and ambient conditions, and may be operable without the need for external reference sources. This is a significant advantage in space-based metrology applications. The longer wavelength prevents scattered light from the metrology laser from contaminating the sensitive CCD-detectors in long base-line optical telescopes. . The Phase I program is expected to yield a preliminary design for an integrated source.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Commercial applications include coherent systems for precision metrology, precision interferometry, holography, and remote sensing. Monitoring of wind fields is a particularly important example of coherent remote sensing. The proposed source would also be used as a master oscillator for injection seeding in LIDAR systems and general scientific applications.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

John H. Flint
Q-Peak, Inc.
135 South Road
Bedford , MA 01730

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Q-Peak, Inc.
135 South Road
Bedford , MA 01730