Abstract

Metastable states of noble gas atoms are typically produced by electrical discharge techniques or “all-optical” excitation methods. Here we combine electrical discharges with optical pumping to demonstrate “optically enhanced” production of metastable xenon (Xe*). We experimentally measure large increases in Xe* density with relatively small optical control field powers. This technique may have applications in systems where large metastable state densities are desirable.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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