Researchers combined solar telescope with Laser Frequency Comb to search for Earth-like planets

Feb 20, 2015 17:00 IST

German researchers successfully combined the sunlight from a Solar Vacuum Tower Telescope in Tenerife, Canary Islands with the light of Laser Frequency Comb (LFC) to make possible the search of Earth-like planets in distant space with accuracy and ease.

This development was published in the New Journal of Physics on 17 February 2015 and the study was led by Rafael Probst, a doctoral candidate at Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Germany.

In order to search for Earth-like planets in distance space with precision, researchers first combined the sunlight from a Solar Vacuum Tower Telescope in Tenerife, Canary Islands with the light of an LFC.

Then they combined the two lights into a one single-mode fibre (SMF) by an optical multiplexer.

On this, they obtained found that precision improved by about a factor of 100 over a temporally separated fibre transmission.

The development of this novel technique would enable the analysis of measurement of the accelerating universe by observing distant quasars.

Further, the researchers also believe that an LFC will allow them to measure the Doppler shifts much more accurately and therefore increase the chances of spotting Earth-sized, habitable planets.

What is Laser Frequency Comb (LFC)?

  • Laser frequency combs (LFC) were conceived a decade ago as tools for the precision spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen.
  • It was created by a laser that emits continuous pulses of light, containing millions of different colours, often spanning almost the entire visible spectrum.
  • When the different colours are separated based on their individual frequencies, they form a comb-like graph with finely spaced lines representing the individual frequencies.
  • This comb can then be used as a ruler to precisely measure the frequency of light from a wide range of sources such as lasers, atoms or stars.

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Read more Current Affairs on: planets , laser technique , laser frequency comb

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