Abstract

For what we believe to be the first time, an optical resonance transition rubidium laser (5P1225S122) has been demonstrated with a hydrocarbon-free buffer gas. Prior demonstrations of alkali resonance transition lasers have used ethane as either the buffer gas or a buffer gas component to promote rapid fine-structure mixing. However, our experience suggests that the alkali vapor reacts with the ethane producing carbon as one of the reaction products. This degrades long term laser reliability. Our recent experimental results with a “clean” helium-only buffer gas system demonstrate all the advantages of the original alkali laser system, but without the reliability issues associated with the use of ethane.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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