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Brimrose AOM Implanted on International Space Station

Photonics.com
Jul 2018
SPARKS, Md., July 9, 2018 — An acousto-optic modulator (AOM) made by Brimrose Corp. of America has been implanted by NASA in the new Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) facility on the International Space Station (ISS).

“We are delighted that our acousto-optic modulator was selected by NASA for this important mission,” said Jolanta Soos, chief technology officer at Brimrose. “It is another example of how we customize our acousto-optic devices for various applications so that they can be used throughout the world and on into space.”

CAL was developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and 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 considered to be the key component inside CAL for manipulating the atoms for interferometry. The fiber-coupled, solid-state device can tune laser light to very specific frequencies while switching on and off in <100 ns.

The CAL facility will produce clouds of ultracooled atoms called Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs). 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 this strange domain with greater understanding.

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


GLOSSARY
acousto-optic modulator
A device that varies the amplitude and phase of a light beam; e.g., from a laser or by sound waves. Also known as a Bragg cell.
Businessacousto-optic modulatorBrimroseNASACold Atom LaboratoryInternational Space StationspacepartnershipsAmericas

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