Integrated micro-optics benches

iMOB Series

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Jean Lautier-Gaud

Director of Business Development & Sales, Quantum Sensors

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The iMOB series represents a ground-breaking approach to design, develop and integrate optical setups with industry-grade optical building blocks.

Integrated micro-optics solutions for Quantum Technologies

iXblue offers New generation of fibered optical benches integrating within a compact and ultra-stable package a wide variety of optical functions such as power splitters, combiners, optical switches, frequency shifters… As a result, usual free-space optics set-ups are transformed into turn-key ultra-stable integrated sub-systems. These modules feature a remarkable stability and are able to operate at high power.

 

The micro-optics solutions proposed by iXblue have been initially developed for the telecom industry and was later adapted to support Quantum Technologies. As a matter of fact iXblue itself relies on this technology for its commercial Quantum Sensors, namely the Absolute Quantum Gravimeter and our cold-atom clock.

The iMOB series can be customized at will to meet a great variety of optical designs:

  • Possibility to integrate photodiodes, shutters, AOMs, EOMs, waveplates
  • Wide choice of operating wavelength, from 400 nm to 1600 nm
  • Multitude of configurations available: 1×2, 2×3, 1×6… with several choices of fibers and connectors.

High-reliability and robustness of micro-optics

This unique line of modules achieves ultra-stable power splitting or combining with a fully adjustable coupling ratio. Exploiting micro-optics technologies, the optical architecture relies on a classical design based on the utilization of polarizers, manually adjustable wave-plates and polarizing beam splitters (PBS). Thanks to a fully integrated architecture and assembling processes developed for optical fiber telecommunications, these modules feature an exceptional alignment stability over an extended operating temperature range. It also removes any constraint of optical alignment or optics cleaning.

A technology that is going to space

The exceptional alignment stability over an extended operating temperature range and the small footprint of iMOB modules were the trigerring arguments to consider this enabling technology towards possible future space missions. To this date, iXblue is working hand by hand with several space agencies to advance the TRL of iMOBs. The first tests of iMOBs under space-like environnement are extremely promising and current TRL is 6. In particular, we have witnessed an excellent robustness with respect to shocks and vibrations.

Key Operational features

Integration: once the power ratio is adjusted by the user, there is no need to optimize the alignment nor to clean the optics.

Robustness: micro-optical components are glued on the base plate. Materials have been carefully selected and engineered to feature ultra-low thermal expansion and great robustness with respect to shocks and vibrations.

Polarization quality: iMOB modules integrate by default polarizers acting as polarization filters. As a result, the typical PER at the output of an iMOB is 30 dB.

Small footprint: the iMOB modules are developed to be compact and small. They can be equipped with input and output fibers of several meters in length.

Typical performances

The iMOB modules are compatible with the outstanding optical performances of iXblue laser systems. In particular, the iMOBs does maintain spectral linewidth of 50 kHz, frequency stability of 50 kHz over months, power stability better than 1%.

Specifications

After several years of industrialization, iXblue is able to commit to excellent performances to sustain the most ambitious R&D projects, product developments and product industrialization.

Wavelength from 400 nm to 1600 nm
Maximum Input Power 2 W
Insertion Loss < 2.2 dB (1.5 dB typ.)
Insertion Loss variation over Operating Temperature Range < 0.7 dB
Operating Temperature Range [10°C ; 50°C]
PER out > 25 dB (30 dB typ.)
Number of output fibers On demand, between 2 and 12 typically
Dimensions 250 mm x 110 mm x 35 mm typ.

In addition of the fantastic flexibility of optical design, the iMOB series can be customized at will to meet a great variety of optical designs (number of input and output fibers, type of fibers, fiber length, connectors).

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References

  • A fibered laser system for the MIGA large scale atom interferometer

    1. D. O. Sabulsky et al.

    Nature Scientific Report, 10:3268 (2020)

    We describe the realization and characterization of a compact, autonomous fber laser system that produces the optical frequencies required for laser cooling, trapping, manipulation, and detection of 87Rb atoms – a typical atomic species for emerging quantum technologies

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