Abstract

In this Letter we describe in more detail a solid-state seeded, nanosecond pulse, multiline CO2 oscillator designed and built for the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) laser-produced-plasma (LPP) source. Our oscillator featured quantum cascade laser seeders, a diffraction-type seed beam combiner, and a radio-frequency-discharge-excited, diffusion-cooled, slab-waveguide CO2 gain cell in a compact multipass regenerative amplifier configuration. The oscillator generated pulses of exceptional stability in terms of envelope, energy, and spectrum. Excellent stability of output was achieved without any additional techniques. The output spectrum consisted of two laser lines of a 00011000 band of a CO2 molecule, P20 and P22, with a target of four lines P18-P24. The pulse duration was electronically adjustable between 11 and 35 ns at a repetition frequency from a few hertz to hundreds of kilohertz. Electronic adjustment of the pulse duration was achieved by relative timing offsets of individual seeders, opening an avenue to a range of on-line adjustments of pulse shape and spectral content timing. The jitter-tolerant operation allows for easy synchronization with an external event, such as a droplet target in an EUV LPP source. A resistance to parasitic seeding of more than 40 dB was recorded. The oscillator produced up to 20 W of average output power at a repetition rate of 100 kHz in a near-diffraction-limited beam of M2<1.3 and a pointing stability below 50 μrad.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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