Abstract

A commercially manufactured excimer laser was used to project a focused laser beam into the atmosphere to altitudes in the range of 10 to 30 km. Rayleigh-backscattered light from a slice of the illuminated column, when imaged in a ground-based telescope, produced an image that is essentially identical to that of a natural star. This experiment demonstrates the ease of producing bright and sharply focused laser guide stars at 351 nm. Such laser guide stars are ideal for guiding astronomical telescopes equipped with adaptive optics.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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References

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1991 (5)

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

J. P. Sercel, Photon. Spectra 12 (12), 84 (1991).

L. A. Thompson, R. M. Castle, D. Carroll, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 1542, 110 (1991).

R. A. Humphreys, C. A. Primmerman, C. L. Bradley, J. Herrmann, Opt. Lett. 16, 1367 (1991).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

D. V. Murphy, C. A. Primmerman, B. G. Zollars, H. T. Barclay, Opt. Lett. 16, 1797 (1991).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1990 (2)

C. S. Gardner, B. M. Welsh, L. A. Thompson, Proc. IEEE 78, 1721 (1990).
[Crossref]

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

1988 (1)

P. Masey, K. Strobel, J. V. Barnes, E. Anderson, Astrophys. J. 328, 315 (1988).
[Crossref]

1987 (1)

L. A. Thompson, C. S. Gardner, Nature (London) 328, 229 (1987).
[Crossref]

1986 (1)

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

1985 (1)

R. Foy, A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 152, L29 (1985).

1978 (1)

J. W. Hardy, Proc. IEEE 66, 651 (1978).
[Crossref]

1973 (1)

Ameer, G. A.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Anderson, E.

P. Masey, K. Strobel, J. V. Barnes, E. Anderson, Astrophys. J. 328, 315 (1988).
[Crossref]

Barclay, H. T.

Barnes, J. V.

P. Masey, K. Strobel, J. V. Barnes, E. Anderson, Astrophys. J. 328, 315 (1988).
[Crossref]

Beckers, J. M.

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

Boeke, B. R.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Boyer, C.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Bradley, C. L.

Browne, S. L.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Carroll, D.

L. A. Thompson, R. M. Castle, D. Carroll, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 1542, 110 (1991).

Castle, R. M.

L. A. Thompson, R. M. Castle, D. Carroll, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 1542, 110 (1991).

Eisenhardt, P. R.

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

Foy, R.

R. Foy, A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 152, L29 (1985).

Fried, D. L.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Fugate, R. Q.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Gardner, C. S.

C. S. Gardner, B. M. Welsh, L. A. Thompson, Proc. IEEE 78, 1721 (1990).
[Crossref]

L. A. Thompson, C. S. Gardner, Nature (London) 328, 229 (1987).
[Crossref]

Gehring, G.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Gigan, P.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Goad, L. E.

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

Hardy, J. W.

J. W. Hardy, Proc. IEEE 66, 651 (1978).
[Crossref]

Herrmann, J.

Humphreys, R. A.

Kern, P.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Labeyrie, A.

R. Foy, A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 152, L29 (1985).

Masey, P.

P. Masey, K. Strobel, J. V. Barnes, E. Anderson, Astrophys. J. 328, 315 (1988).
[Crossref]

Merkle, F.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Murphy, D. V.

Parenti, R. S.

R. S. Parenti, R. J. Saliela, “Laser guide star systems for astronomical applications,” Tech. Rep. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, Mass., 1992).

Primmerman, C. A.

Rigant, F.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Roberts, P. H.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Roddier, F. J.

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

Rousset, G.

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Ruane, R. E.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Saliela, R. J.

R. S. Parenti, R. J. Saliela, “Laser guide star systems for astronomical applications,” Tech. Rep. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, Mass., 1992).

Sercel, J. P.

J. P. Sercel, Photon. Spectra 12 (12), 84 (1991).

Shu, K.-L.

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

Strobel, K.

P. Masey, K. Strobel, J. V. Barnes, E. Anderson, Astrophys. J. 328, 315 (1988).
[Crossref]

Thompson, L. A.

L. A. Thompson, R. M. Castle, D. Carroll, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 1542, 110 (1991).

C. S. Gardner, B. M. Welsh, L. A. Thompson, Proc. IEEE 78, 1721 (1990).
[Crossref]

L. A. Thompson, C. S. Gardner, Nature (London) 328, 229 (1987).
[Crossref]

Tyler, G. A.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Welsh, B. M.

C. S. Gardner, B. M. Welsh, L. A. Thompson, Proc. IEEE 78, 1721 (1990).
[Crossref]

Wopat, L. M.

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Yura, H. T.

Zollars, B. G.

Astron. Astrophys. (1)

R. Foy, A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 152, L29 (1985).

Astrophys. J. (1)

P. Masey, K. Strobel, J. V. Barnes, E. Anderson, Astrophys. J. 328, 315 (1988).
[Crossref]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

Messenger (1)

F. Merkle, G. Gehring, F. Rigant, P. Kern, P. Gigan, G. Rousset, C. Boyer, Messenger 60, 9 (1990).

Nature (London) (2)

L. A. Thompson, C. S. Gardner, Nature (London) 328, 229 (1987).
[Crossref]

R. Q. Fugate, D. L. Fried, G. A. Ameer, B. R. Boeke, S. L. Browne, P. H. Roberts, R. E. Ruane, G. A. Tyler, L. M. Wopat, Nature (London) 353, 144 (1991).
[Crossref]

Opt. Lett. (2)

Photon. Spectra (1)

J. P. Sercel, Photon. Spectra 12 (12), 84 (1991).

Proc. IEEE (2)

J. W. Hardy, Proc. IEEE 66, 651 (1978).
[Crossref]

C. S. Gardner, B. M. Welsh, L. A. Thompson, Proc. IEEE 78, 1721 (1990).
[Crossref]

Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. (2)

J. M. Beckers, F. J. Roddier, P. R. Eisenhardt, L. E. Goad, K.-L. Shu, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 628, 290 (1986).

L. A. Thompson, R. M. Castle, D. Carroll, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng. 1542, 110 (1991).

Other (1)

R. S. Parenti, R. J. Saliela, “Laser guide star systems for astronomical applications,” Tech. Rep. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, Mass., 1992).

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Image of the raw laser beam at an altitude of 21 km above the observatory; the elongated beam profile has dimensions of 0.24 mrad × 0.58 mrad (FWHM), and the camera field of view is 3.29 mrad (11.3 arcmin) for this photograph.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Height dependence of the return flux from the excimer laser guide star. The return flux is normalized to remove both the total collecting area of the detecting telescope and the laser power per pulse. The intensified Reticon camera used in our measurements is not a perfectly linear detector; the detector shows intensity-dependent sensitivity. The filled symbols represent laser images that had mean intensities similar to that of the astronomical standard star; these we judge to be most reliable. The open symbols represent laser images with intensities above or below that of the standard star; for these a correction was applied to remove detector nonlinearity.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Image of the focused laser guide star formed at the focal plane of the 1-m telescope. Each pixel in this image spans 4.4 μrad (0.9 arcsec), and the image FWHM is 14.2 μrad (2.93 arcsec).

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Image of a natural star obtained with the same camera and image scale as the laser guide star. This photograph was taken 1 h after the laser guide star image in Fig. 3. The star image, the bright spot seen at the center of the photograph, is surrounded by an apparent halo produced by the sky that is illuminating that portion of the detector which is not vignetted. The image width of the natural star is 12.9 μrad (2.66 arcsec) FWHM.

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