OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 44, Iss. 9 — Mar. 21, 2005
  • pp: 1715–1718

Compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser for the MESSENGER mission to Mercury

Danny J. Krebs, Anne-Marie Novo-Gradac, Steven X. Li, Steven J. Lindauer, Robert S. Afzal, and Anthony W. Yu  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 44, Issue 9, pp. 1715-1718 (2005)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (319 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser has been developed for the Mercury Laser Altimeter, an instrument on the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging mission to the planet Mercury. The laser achieves 5.4% efficiency with a near-diffraction-limited beam. It passed all space-flight environmental tests at subsystem, instrument, and satellite integration testing and successfully completes a postlaunch aliveness check en route to Mercury. The laser design draws on a heritage of previous laser altimetry missions, specifically the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite and the Mars Global Surveyor, but incorporates thermal management features unique to the requirements of an orbit of the planet Mercury.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: August 4, 2004
Revised Manuscript: November 16, 2004
Manuscript Accepted: November 19, 2004
Published: March 20, 2005

Danny J. Krebs, Anne-Marie Novo-Gradac, Steven X. Li, Steven J. Lindauer, Robert S. Afzal, and Anthony W. Yu, "Compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser for the MESSENGER mission to Mercury," Appl. Opt. 44, 1715-1718 (2005)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. S. C. Solomon, R. L. McNutt, R. E. Gold, M. H. Acuna, D. N. Baker, W. V. Boynton, C. R. Chapman, A. F. Cheng, G. Gloeckler, J. W. Head, S. M. Krimigis, W. E. McClintock, S. L. Murchie, S. J. Peale, R. J. Phillips, M. S. Robinson, J. A. Slavin, D. E. Smith, R. G. Strom, J. I. Trombka, M. T. Zuber, “The MESSENGER mission to Mercury: scientific objective and implementation,” Planet. Space Sci. 49, 1445–1465 (2001). [CrossRef]
  2. R. E. Gold, S. C. Solomon, R. L. McNutt, A. G. Santo, J. B. Abshire, M. H. Acuna, R. S. Afzal, B. J. Anderson, G. B. Andrews, P. D. Bedini, J. Cain, A. F. Cheng, L. G. Evans, W. C. Feldman, R. B. Follas, G. Gloeckler, J. O. Goldsten, S. E. Hawkins, N. R. Izenberg, S. E. Jaskulek, E. A. Ketchum, M. R. Lankton, D. A. Lohr, B. H. Mauk, W. E. McClintock, S. L. Murchie, C. E. Schlemm, D. E. Smith, R. D. Starr, T. H. Zurbuchen, “The MESSENGER mission to Mercury: scientific payload,” Planet. Space Sci. 49, 1467–1479 (2001). [CrossRef]
  3. A. G. Santo, R. E. Gold, R. L. McNutt, S. C. Solomon, C. J. Ercol, R. W. Farquhar, T. J. Hartka, J. E. Jenkins, J. V. McAdams, L. E. Mosher, D. F. Persons, D. W. Artis, R. S. Bokulic, R. F. Conde, G. Dakermanji, M. E. Goss, D. R. Haley, K. J. Heeres, R. H. Maurer, R. C. Moore, E. H. Rodberg, T. G. Stern, S. R. Wiley, B. G. Williams, C. L. Yen, M. R. Peterson, “The MESSENGER mission to Mercury: spacecraft and mission design,” Planet. Space Sci. 49, 1481–1500 (2001). [CrossRef]
  4. X. Sun, J. F. Cavanaugh, J. C. Smith, A. E. Bartels, “Design and performance measurement of the Mercury Laser Altimeter,” in Technical Digest, 2004 Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics, on CDE-ROM (The Optical Society of America, Washington, D.C., 2004), presentation CThN3.
  5. J. B. Abshire, J. C. Smith, B. E. Schutz, “The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System,” in Technical Digest, 19th International Laser Radar Conference, Annapolis, Md., (NASA, Greenbelt, Md., 1998).
  6. R. S. Afzal, “The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter: laser transmitter,” Appl. Opt. 33, 3184–3188 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. G. Zhou, L. W. Casperson, “Modes of a laser resonator with a retroreflecting roof mirror,” Appl. Opt. 20, 3542–3546 (1981). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. R. S. Afzal, A. W. Yu, J. J. Zayhowski, T. Y. Fan, “Single-mode, high-peak-power, passively Q-switched, diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser,” Opt. Lett. 22, 1314–1316 (1997). [CrossRef]
  9. T. S. Rose, M. S. Hopkins, R. A. Fields, “Characterization and control of gamma and proton radiation effects on the performance of Nd:YAG and Nd:YLF lasers,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 31, 1593–1602 (1995). [CrossRef]
  10. L. Ramos-Izquierdo, V. S. Scott, S. Schmidt, J. Britt, W. Mamakos, R. Trunzo, J. Cavanaugh, R. Miller, “Optical system design and integration of the Mercury Laser Altimeter,” Appl. Opt. 44, 1748–1760 (in this issue).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited