Barium vapor lasers (BVLs) are an efficient (~0.5%), high average power (10-15 W) and high pulse rate (~10 kHz) source operating on a variety of wavelengths (1.13, 1.50 and 2.55 μm) in the mid-IR region. Potential applications include scanning ranging, remote gas detection and optical fiber testing. The BVL is particularly amenable to the investigation of kinetic processes applicable to metal vapor lasers (MVLs) in general, as significant transitions used for measurement of important neutral and ionic species are all in the visible spectrum. Pre-pulse conditions are important in determining laser performance and have been the subject of several recent papers on copper1,2 and strontium3 metal vapor laser systems. Measured pre-pulse ground state metal atom densities reported for the latter systems are significantly lower than expected from simple thermal considerations.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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