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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R00420X/1
Title: AXEL: Alexandrite Ring Cavity Lasers for Commercial Quantum Technology. TSB Application Number: 79958-520147
Principal Investigator: Damzen, Professor MJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Dept of Physics
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 174,100
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The objective of the project is to develop beyond state-of-the-art highly stabilised laser sources whose high performance coupled with cost-effectiveness and compact size enhances access of researchers/technologists into a broad range of Quantum Technologies (QTs) and provides the basis for integration into future commercial Quantum Technology instrumentation. Diode-pumped Alexandrite laser technology will be developed in a commercial platform with precision highly-stabilised wavelength tunablility over a broad band and sub-MHz ultra-narrowlinewidth control, as required for Quantum Technology applications. The ability to directly diode-pump the vibronic solid-state Alexandrite laser provides the basis as a significantly lower cost, more compact replacement to the current mainstream titanium-sapphire laser technology. Due to direct diode-pumping the Alexandrite technology has excellent power scaling potential to the multi-W and multi-ten-Watt power level addressing future demands in commercially-scaled QT systems.

The project brings together commercial partner, M-Squared Lasers (MSL) and academic team at Imperial College London (IC). The IC academic team are the world-leading group in diode-pumped Alexandrite lasers, with world-record demonstrations of highest power (>26W), highest efficiency, and broadest tuning range, and notable first Q-switching and cavity-dumped Q-switching developments made for satellite-based lidar application for the European Space Agency (ESA). MSL bring a track record for innovative commercial laser development and award-winning laser products. The scientific and technical expertise of the IC group combined with the engineering, commercial and market knowledge skills of MSL provides a solid basis to accelerate the translation of Alexandrite laser technology from research laboratory to a new specification and commercial product platform to address the growing needs of Quantum Technologies.

An Alexandrite Ring Laser (ARL) pre-prototype system will be designed with wavelength tuning and narrowlinewidth control, and significant power target, leading to a first pre-prototype ARL to be built and performance characterised at Imperial (Milestone 1). A second pre-prototype ARL system will be built at MSL to provide further performance optimisation of specification and operation as a demonstrator for QT applications (Milestone 2). Imperial will modify the first pre-prototype for demonstration and validation of feasibility of power scaling (Milestone 3). MSL will couple their pre-prototype to QT application with demonstration to potential users (Milestone 4). Market study and Technology Roadmap will be made for the development of the Alexandrite laser technology and its commercialisation (Milestone 5).

The successful outcome of this project will lead to new cutting-edge laser technology with highest performance and low cost/compact format that will enable current and future Quantum Technology processes and applications including cooling, atomic clocks and gyroscopes for navigation; gravimeters for military and earth observation; secure communications etc.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk