P. Darré, R. Baudoin, J.-T. Gomes, N. J. Scott, L. Delage, L. Grossard, J. Sturmann, C. Farrington, F. Reynaud, and T. A. Ten Brummelaar
Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 233902 – Published 29 November 2016
The Astronomical Light Optical Hybrid Analysis project investigates the combined use of a telescope array interferometer and nonlinear optics to propose a new generation of instruments dedicated to high-resolution imaging for infrared astronomy. The nonlinear process of optical frequency conversion transfers the astronomical light to a shorter wavelength domain. Here, we report on the first fringes obtained on the sky with the prototype operated at 1.55 μm in the astronomical H band and implemented on the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy telescope array. This seminal result allows us to foresee a future extension to the challenging midinfrared spectral domain.
This is quite interesting as an application of photon up-conversion at low-light levels – in this case for interferometric IR telescope arrays. The demo in the paper doesn’t show any improvement on the existing configuration (i.e. no non-linear optical step), but in principle could: once one factors in not just lossy detection in the IR, but also lossy beam transport (in the conceptually similar VLTI system it’s about 10% efficient).
The header image shows fig. 1 from the paper.