ann16060 — Announcement

ESO Staff Share Prestigious Award Celebrating Innovation in Laser Technology

12 September 2016

Seven ESO staff are amongst the group of individuals awarded third place in the prestigious Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis. The group receiving the award includes staff from the companies Toptica and MPB Communications, in addition to those from ESO. These researchers and developers worked together on the Laser Source of the Four Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF), now operating on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). An important part of the laser technology involved was initially developed at ESO and then brought to industrial engineering levels by Toptica and MPB.

The advancement and acknowledgement of outstanding development and scientific work on the application or generation of laser light is one of the objectives of the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung. Since 2000 this prize, which the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung awards every two years, has recognised scientists and technicians who make exceptional advances in the field of laser technology. The ESO staff, both former and present, sharing in this award are: Domenico Bonaccini Calia; Yan Feng; Wolfgang Hackenberg; Ronald Holzlöhner; Steffan Lewis; Thomas Pfrommer and Luke Taylor.

The new laser source has been commissioned as part of the 4LGSF, a new subsystem of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) at the VLT. The 4LGSF projects four laser beams into the night sky, creating four artificial stars that the AOF uses to compensate for the effects of turbulence in the atmosphere. The "stars" appear because the laser beams transfer energy to sodium atoms in the atmosphere 90 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. The atoms fluoresce, releasing the energy and creating a patch of bright light, which appears to the telescope like a glowing star.

ESO is proud to recognise this award to its staff and the wider team they collaborated with. Their achievement was celebrated at an awards ceremony on 9 September 2016.

Links

Contacts

Peter Grimley
ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6383
Email: pgrimley@partner.eso.org

About the Announcement

Id:ann16060

Images

ESO staff share prestigious award celebrating innovation in laser technology
ESO staff share prestigious award celebrating innovation in laser technology
Laser stars in the sky
Laser stars in the sky
Lighten up
Lighten up
A few extra stars
A few extra stars
Cutting through the turbulence
Cutting through the turbulence
Awards ceremony for the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis
Awards ceremony for the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis

Videos

Laser — do not look into the beam!
Laser — do not look into the beam!
The most powerful laser guide star system in the world sees first light at the Paranal Observatory
The most powerful laser guide star system in the world sees first light at the Paranal Observatory
Four lasers fire into the atmosphere
Four lasers fire into the atmosphere
Artificial stars over Paranal
Artificial stars over Paranal
Laser beams over Paranal
Laser beams over Paranal