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New Focus to Develop Atomic Clock Laser
Sep 2002
SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 25 -- Photonics technology solutions provider New Focus Inc. announced it has entered into an agreement to develop lasers for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The laser, based on the company's existing tunable laser technology, will be used to selectively excite particular transitions of atomic cesium, enabling new high-performance frequency standards.

The laser source will be used to "cool" the cesium atoms in a highly accurate atomic clock that will be carried by the space shuttle and placed on the International Space Station, as part of an experiment to test many of the predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. New Focus said its tunable laser, at 852 nanometers, fits well with the extreme environmental demands of this application, providing high reliability, tunability and a narrow line width centered at the cesium atomic resonance wavelength. This next-generation laser also has applications in the market for commercial cesium clocks, including those used in global positioning systems, the company said.

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