Abstract

We have developed a three-stage CO2 master-oscillator–amplifier system that produces 1.1 TW of peak power. The system generates 170 J of energy in a diffraction-limited 160±10 ps pulse on the 10P20 line. We also report the realization of a two-wavelength terawatt-peak-power CO2 laser that can be tuned to an arbitrary pair of lines. A two-stage semiconductor switching system driven by a picosecond-pulse Nd:YAG laser was used to slice a short, low-power 10.6µm pulse for amplification. A simple plasma shutter helped to compensate for gain narrowing in a final three-pass amplifier and to shorten the pulse.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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