Abstract

Pulsed lasing from optically pumped rare gas metastable atoms (Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe) has been demonstrated previously. The laser relies on a three-level scheme, which involves the (n+1)p[5/2]3 and (n+1)p[1/2]1 states from the np5(n+1)p electronic configuration and the metastable (n+1)s[3/2]2 level of the np5(n+1)s configuration (Racah notation). Population inversions were achieved using relaxation from ((n+1)p[5/2]3 to (n+1)p[1/2]1 induced by collisions with helium or argon at pressures near 1 atm. Pulsed lasing was easily achieved using the high instantaneous pump intensities provided by a pulsed optical parametric oscillator excitation laser. In the present study we examine the potential for the development of a continuous wave (CW) optically pumped Ar laser. We report lasing of the 4p[1/2]14s[3/2]2 (912.547 nm) transition following CW diode laser excitation of the 4p[5/2]34s[3/2]2 line (811.754 nm). A pulsed discharge was used to generate Ar 4s[3/2]2, and the time-resolved lasing kinetics provide insights concerning the radiative and collisional relaxation processes.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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