Accelerated endurance test of single-mode vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers under vacuum used for a scalar space magnetometer

M. Ellmeier, C. Hagen, J. Piris, R. Lammegger, I. Jernej, M. Woschank, W. Magnes, E. Murphy, A. Pollinger, C. Erd, W. Baumjohann, L. Windholz

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We performed an endurance test with single-mode vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) under vacuum condition and increased operational parameters (laser current and laser temperature) to accelerate the aging of the lasers. During the endurance test the emitted polarization-dependent and polarization-independent optical light power from the lasers was detected. Additionally, electro-optical characterisations including measurements of the combination of laser current and laser temperature to excite the 87Rb D1 transition (λ = 795 nm), the current and temperature tuning coefficients, laser line width, threshold current and the polarization ellipse were performed for the aged lasers. The test was started with a number of 12 VCSELs consisting of 4 lasers each from 3 different suppliers. The aging behaviour of VCSELs was investigated with respect to the development of a new optical magnetometer prototype for space missions with a mission duration of up to 17 years. Only a limited change of the electro-optical parameters can be tolerated by the instrument design over the mission duration. The endurance test and the electro-optical characterizations revealed clear differences in the aging behaviour of the three suppliers. Lasers from one supplier showed that they can be operated for more than 17 years under vacuum conditions without major degradation of their operational parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Physics B: Lasers and Optics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

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