Abstract

Barium-vapor lasers (BVLs) are efficient (~0.5%), high-average-power (10–15 W), high-pulse-rate (~10-kHz) sources operating at a variety of wavelengths (1.13, 1.50, and 2.55 μm) in the mid-IR region. The 2.55-μm laser line in particular has potential applications including testing of fluoride glass optical fibers and covert surveillance. Moderate output power (~1.5 W) has recently been obtained at this wavelength for a BVL with an active volume of ~370 cm3 operated at high (200-mbar) helium-buffer-gas pressures.1 However, the populating mechanism of the Ba 3P2 upper laser level during the excitation phase is not yet fully understood, and this has limited the scaling capability of this transition. Measurements on a laser-pumped barium vapor2 suggest that population is transferred by spin-changing collisions with rare-buffer-gas atoms from the resonantly pumped Ba 1P1 level. Laser-induced-perturbation studies by Pask and Piper3 have shown that population transfer to the Ba 3P2 state also occurs by superelastic electron deexcitation from the Ba 1P1 state. Direct excitation of the Ba 3P2 upper laser level directly from the Ba 1S0 ground state was not observed.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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References

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