Optics & Photonics

Alexandrite laser crystals have been discovered to be highly suited for space applications.

The use of alexandrite laser crystals in Earth observation satellites is ideal. They enable laser systems with a tunable output wavelength and are robust. Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. is one of the project partners in the European Horizon 2020 project GALACTIC. Optomaterials S.r.l., V. (LZH) A solely European supply chain for alexandrite laser crystals, which can be used for space applications, has now been established by Altechna (Lithuania) and Italy.

The Italian accomplice Optomaterials produces cutthroat gems, which the Lithuanian organization Altechna furnishes with a unique covering. To accomplish the important properties for space applications, Altechna has created extraordinary covering plans and cycles in view of particle pillar and magnetron faltering cycles.

Proven: Space suitability

The crystals were thoroughly tested by scientists at the LZH using specialized laser systems. These systems have been designed with future applications in mind. The demonstrators could lay the groundwork for new laser-based estimating instruments. The Alexandrite crystals were subjected to proton and gamma radiation by researchers at the LZH, and they were also subjected to a number of temperature cycles that are typical for applications in space.

They have characterized the crystals, including their transmission properties and laser performance, prior to and following these environmental tests. Since the natural tests didn’t essentially change the deliberate boundaries, the appropriateness of space could be illustrated. Additionally, the researchers demonstrated that the crystals’ laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT) is comparable to or even higher than that of leading products on the global market.

As a result, the GALACTIC team was able to successfully raise the space-qualified alexandrite crystals from Europe’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 4 to 6 and make the crystals marketable.

Special properties for more precise data

Alexandrite crystals have excellent fracture strength and thermal conductivity. As a result, they can be used in high-power laser systems and are durable enough to withstand harsh space conditions.

Since the gems can be utilized to tune the result frequency of laser frameworks, they could shape the premise of new kinds of laser-based estimating instruments for Earth perception satellites. More precise, climate-relevant data on the state of the atmosphere or vegetation could be gathered using such instruments.

The results have been published in Optics Express.

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