Optical fiber couplers for precision spaceborne metrology

Killow, C. J., Fitzsimons, E. D., Perreur-Lloyd, M. , Robertson, D. I. , Ward, H. and Bogenstahl, J. (2016) Optical fiber couplers for precision spaceborne metrology. Applied Optics, 55(10), pp. 2724-2731. (doi: 10.1364/AO.55.002724) (PMID:27139678)

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We describe the optical and mechanical design, construction philosophy and testing of a pair of matched, spaceflight-qualified fiber couplers. The couplers were developed for the LISA Pathfinder mission but are relevant for other applications – both on ground and in space – where a robust fiber coupler with well controlled beam parameters and stable beam pointing is required. This particular implementation of the design called for two couplers providing collimated beams with individual waist sizes and positions. The target values were a 522 mm waist 145mm after the collimating lens for one coupler and a virtual 520 mm waist 194mm before the collimating lens for the second coupler. Values of (542 plus or minus 4)μm at (142 plus or minus 19)mm and (500 plus or minus 8) μm at (-275 plus or minus 8) mm were achieved, fully meeting the mission requirements. To control spurious noise effects in the interferometer the optical system design also specified tight limits on relative beam curvature at an intended interference point. With nominal curvatures at this location of ~ 2.35m the matching between the outputs of the two fiber couplers was measured to be l/33 peak-valley over the central 1mm of the beams. Results showing pointing stability of 3 rad/µC over a 50°C range are presented. The vibration, shock and thermal vacuum environmental testing conditions to which a pair of qualification fiber couplers were subjected – without change in performance – are listed.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Perreur-Lloyd, Mr Michael and Bogenstahl, Miss Johanna and Fitzsimons, Dr Ewan and Killow, Dr Christian and Ward, Professor Henry and Robertson, Dr David
Authors: Killow, C. J., Fitzsimons, E. D., Perreur-Lloyd, M., Robertson, D. I., Ward, H., and Bogenstahl, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Research Centre:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy > Institute for Gravitational Research
Journal Name:Applied Optics
Publisher:Optical Society of America
ISSN (Online):2155-3165
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Optical Society of America
First Published:First published in Applied Optics 55(10:2724-2731
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
390881Construction of Optical Bench Sub-Assembly for LISA PathfinderHenry WardParticle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)PP/D507258/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
568481LISA Pathfinder Optical Bench: completion and deliveryHenry WardScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/I00617X/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
499401Optical Bench Development for LISAHenry WardScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/H000356/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY