Close

Search

Search Menu
Photonics Media Photonics Buyers' Guide Photonics EDU Photonics Spectra BioPhotonics EuroPhotonics Industrial Photonics Photonics Showcase Photonics ProdSpec Photonics Handbook
More News
share
Email Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Comments

Brimrose AO Modulator Used on ISS

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2018
A Brimrose Corporation of America acousto-optic modulator (AOM) is now being used by NASA as part of a new facility known as the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) on the International Space Station (ISS).

A fiber-coupled version of the A-O Modulator. Courtesy of Brimrose.
Fiber-coupled version of the acousto-optic modulator. Courtesy of Brimrose.

The Cold Atom Laboratory was developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and already has begun operating on the ISS. It will provide scientists with an improved set of tools for probing the realm of quantum mechanics.

The AOM is a fiber-coupled, solid-state device that can tune laser light to very specific frequencies while switching on and off in less than 100 ns. It is the key component inside CAL for manipulating the atoms for interferometry.

The CAL facility will produce clouds of ultracooled atoms called Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC). These are chilled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, or even colder than the average temperature of deep space. The atoms in a BEC demonstrate quantum characteristics at relatively large size scales, allowing researchers to explore the domain with greater understanding.

To reach these ultracold temperatures, the CAL uses a three-step process. First, lasers are used to corral the atoms and slow them down, stealing their energy and reducing the temperature to approximately 100 μK. This step is completed with a device called a magneto-optical trap. Second, the cooled atoms are held in the magnetic trap that causes the warmest atoms in the cloud to separate from the cooler atoms; radio waves then push the warm atoms away, reducing the cloud’s overall temperature to less than 1 μK. Third, the cloud’s natural expansion causes the temperature to drop further (this is called adiabatic expansion) into the 100 pK range.

In one year, the CAL instrument is expected to be fitted by astronauts with a new atom-trapping cell currently being designed to deliver the Brimrose AOM light pulses to the atoms.


Businessaerospaceopticsfiber opticslasersfiber lasersNASABrimroseBrimrose Corporation of AmericaAcousto-Optics ModulatorAOMInternational Space StationISSCold Atom LaboratoryCALlight speed

Comments
Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy About Us Contact Us
back to top
Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS
©2018 Photonics Media, 100 West St., Pittsfield, MA, 01201 USA, info@photonics.com

Photonics Media, Laurin Publishing
x Subscribe to Photonics Spectra magazine - FREE!
We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.