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Toward optimization of pulsed sodium laser guide stars

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Abstract

Pulsed sodium laser guide stars (LGS) are useful because they allow for Rayleigh blanking and fratricide avoidance in multiple-LGS systems. Bloch equation simulations of sodium–light interactions show that these may be able to achieve photon returns nearly equal to, and in some cases greater than, what is seen from CW excitation. In this work, we study the time-dependent characteristics of sodium fluorescence and investigate the optimal format for the new fiber laser LGS that will be part of the upgraded adaptive optics system on the Shane Telescope at Mt. Hamilton. Results of this analysis are examined in the context of their general applicability to other LGS systems and the potential benefits of uplink correction are considered. Comparisons of simulation predictions with measurements from existing LGS are also presented and discussed.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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