Toptica Photonics Inc. of Victor, N.Y., has
won an approximately $6.4 million contract from the European Southern Observatory
to develop four continuous-wave, high-power laser guide stars for its Very Large
Telescope in Paranal, Chile. The guide stars, to be developed by Toptica and its
Montreal-based partner MPB Communications, will be installed at the telescope in
September 2013 and will be based on amplified and frequency-doubled diode laser
systems. The contract is financed in part by European funds in the framework of
the EC FP7 Optical Infrared Coordination Network for Astronomy.