A second-harmonic generator (SHG) serves as the source of the visible laser beam in an onboard calibration scheme for NASA’s planned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), which requires an infrared laser beam and a visible laser beam coherent with the infrared laser beam. The SHG includes quasi-phase-matched waveguides made of MgO-doped, periodically poled lithium niobate, pigtailed with polarization-maintaining optical fibers. Frequency doubling by use of such waveguides affords the required combination of coherence and sufficient conversion efficiency for the intended application. The spatial period of the poling is designed to obtain quasi-phase-matching at a nominal middle excitation wavelength of 1,319.28 nm.
The SHG is designed to operate at a warm bias (ambient temperature between 20 and 25 °C) that would be maintained in its cooler environment by use of electric heaters; the heater power would be adjusted to regulate the temperature precisely and thereby maintain the required precision of the spatial period. At the state of development at the time of this reporting, the SHG had been packaged and subjected to most of its planned space-qualification tests.