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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Development of a Single-Frequency Narrow Linewidth 1.5mm Semiconductor Laser Suitable for Spaceflight Operation

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Development of a Single-Frequency Narrow Linewidth 1.5mm Semiconductor Laser Suitable for Spaceflight Operation
Many space applications rely on the utilization of Light Detection and Raging (LIDAR) techniques. A key component of any LIDAR system is the laser source. Single frequency lasers in the 1.5-2.0mm region of the spectrum, with less than 10kHz linewidth, are needed and space qualification of the laser source is the critical requirement for the intended NASA LIDAR applications. A novel, single-frequency, low noise planar semiconductor external cavity laser has been developed by Redfern Integrated Optics Inc. (RIO). Cavity is based by the hybrid integration of an InP gain chip and a planar lightwave circuit (PLC) with waveguide Bragg grating. The laser performance is characterized by a single-frequency output in the 1550 nm spectral region with a linewidth <3kHz; low phase/frequency noise, low RIN. Additional testing, analysis, and qualification are necessary for its proper applicability and reliable use in space missions. We propose to carry out a study of the suitability of PLANEX for space service, and to determine its potential susceptibility to space and radiation effects. At the end of Phase I, a set of target operational specifications, functional requirements, and associated space qualification protocol will be developed for further Space-Qualified External Cavity Laser (SQECL) based on the PLANEX technology. Work plan included analysis of prior information and definition of target specifications, assessment of space environment effects, like radiation and vacuum, determination of current and target TRL, plan and roadmap for Phase II, development of the approach for the re-design and complete space qualification at Phase 2. More »

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.