Master clock for the ALMA telescope

A 1556 nm fiber laser jointly developed by NKT Photonics and TeraXion has been incorporated as a master clock in the world’s largest and most powerful radio astronomy telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, located in the Atacama desert of northern Chile.

ALMA telescope

The ALMA Master Laser, a frequency-stabilized laser built by TeraXion, includes an NKT’s Koheras BOOSTIK OEM Fiber Laser module.

TeraXion and NKT Photonics joined their skills to achieve this world premiere: the unrivaled coherence length of the Koheras BOOSTIK coupled with TeraXion’s expertise in laser frequency stabilization and industrialization of complex optical systems gave birth to a rugged laser system constantly providing a stable laser signal.

This system was also built to sustain harsh environmental conditions, for example when earthquakes occur, a test that it successfully passed during the Antofagasta region’s earthquake of the 20th of June 2011, ranking 6.5 on the Richter scale.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

ALMA – the largest astronomical project in existence – is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high-precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.