Abstract

We have used a pulsed dye-laser beam at 6010 Å, of 1-μsec duration and ≲1-mJ energy, to produce a line plasma in a Cs metal vapor. This produces a line source of large thermal energy. The heat diffusion after the laser pulse can be studied by transmission monitoring of a weak cw He–Ne laser beam that is parallel to but separated from the pulsed laser beam by an adjustable displacement. This is possible because the He–Ne beam is absorbed by the minority Cs2 molecules but not by the majority Cs atoms; as the heat pulse diffuses through the probe beam, the transient temperature increase causes a corresponding change in the population distribution of the Cs2 molecules and hence a transient increase in transmission of the probe beam. In other words, the Cs2 works like a thermometer. Our work demonstrates a new and simple method to measure heat diffusion in a well-defined geometry, and it is especially suitable for use in a hot corrosive system because it is a noncontact method.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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