A gain-switched, single-frequency titanium–sapphire laser for atmospheric humidity measurements using the differential absorption lidar technique operating in the 820 nm wavelength region is described. The laser is pumped by a frequency-doubled, flashlamp-pumped Nd:YAG laser at a repetition rate of 50 Hz and injection seeded by two external-cavity-diode lasers. The system yields pulses with an energy of 15 mJ and high spectral purity. We describe a novel active injection-locking technique that avoids the problems of established methods like dither-lock or ramp-and-fire. Furthermore, our method opens the possibility to switch between two wavelengths for alternating shots, in contrast to most established techniques that only allow operation at one wavelength.
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