Diode Laser Systems for Space-Based Cold Atom Clocks

Period of Performance: 12/19/2012 - 03/21/2015


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vescent Photonics
14998 W 6th Ave # 700 Array
Golden, CO 80401
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: We propose to develop extremely compact and rugged laser systems for emerging cold-atom-based sensors of time, gravity, and inertial forces. This phase II will provide complete and disruptive cold-atom laser / electro-optic control systems. We will design and build distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) laser diodes with 400 mW output power. We will incorporate these lasers into very compact and rugged telecom-style packages which include internal rubidium reference cells and/or offset phase locking optics. This packaging will leverage processes that have a track record of both telcordia and space-qualification. Finally, as the ultimate outcome from this phase II, we will combine these with other modules we are already developing, to enable full cold-atom laser systems. These systems can include: rubidium referenced master lasers, offset locked slave lasers, semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) and liquid-crystal electro-optic (LCEO) demux shutters. This set of optical modules can be combined in a variety of ways to give application-specific cold-atom laser systems suitable for use in the field or in space. BENEFIT: High power diode laser systems capable of reliable, agile, atomic locking will find uses in cold-atom spectroscopic sensors such as atom interferometers, gravimeters, magnetometers, atom clocks, focused ion beam sources and quantum computers. New inertial navigation sensors and atomic clocks are needed for GPS design environments. More accurate and lower power atomic clocks are needed for network synchronization for wireless networks and SONET. Cold-atom technology is also being used for the development of high-brightness ion beams useful for focused ion beams for semiconductor fabrication and electron beams for electron microscopy.