Abstract

A detailed review of the present knowledge of gaseous optical masers is given. The paper is divided into four main sections: The first section contains a summary of basic general considerations, ranging from properties of the normal cavity modes through methods of measurement and interpretation in gas systems. The second contains a review of the dominant excitation mechanisms which have been used to produce population inversions in gas lasers. The third and main section considers various aspects of the numerous gas systems in which continuous oscillation has been achieved, and the last section deals with spectral characteristics and mode pulling effects. Where appropriate new material has been introduced, and an attempt has also been made to include a number of small engineering details which should be of help in the construction and operation of gaseous optical masers.

© 1962 Optical Society of America

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