A compact, lightweight, low-power-consumption source of tunable, narrow-bandwidth blue and UV radiation is described. In this source, a single-longitudinal-mode diode laser seeds a pulsed, GaAlAs tapered amplifier whose ∼860-nm output is frequency quadrupled by two stages of single-pass frequency doubling. Performance of the laser system is characterized over a wide range of amplifier duty cycles (0.1–1.0), pulse durations (50 ns–1.0 μs), peak currents (≤14 A), and average currents (≤2.0 A). The capabilities and limitations of this source are discussed. We recorded high-resolution, Doppler-limited absorption spectra of nitric oxide and sulfur dioxide near 215 nm; the SO2 spectrum was found to have significantly more structure and higher peak absorption cross sections than previously reported.
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