Superfluorescence is the fast spontaneous decay of excited atoms by cooperative emission.1 Because of near-field interactions in small volumes, the optimal geometry for this process is a pencil-shaped volume.2 In our experimental and theoretical studies, we effectively extended the length of the active volume using mode-locking techniques. This allows us to obtain superfluorescence even in relatively small lengths with a steady-state or mode-locked output. The effect has been observed for several mode-locked argon laser lines, and for different laser configurations. In the cavity-dumped configuration it leads to the generation of kilowatt peak power pulses.3

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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