Mid Infrared Optically Pumped Molecular Gas Lasers

  • R. G. Harrison
  • H. N. Rutt
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB)


Optically pumped molecular lasers (OPML) based on rotational transitions have been long recognised as sources of efficient and powerful far infrared (FIR) emission (50 μ – 3 mm). More recently the spectral coverage of these systems has been extended to the mid infrared (5–50 μm); motivated by the urgent need for such sources in photochemistry and spectroscopy. Based on the resonant excitation of vibrational rotational transitions, for which moderately high gains of 10−2 to 10−1 cm−1 may be readily obtained, many emissions in this spectral region have already been obtained, with powers in favourable cases being in excess of 1 MW and photon conversion efficiencies approaching 100%. The striking success of this approach, providing an efficient, non destructable and simple method for infra-red generation owes much to the development of several powerful pulsed discharge excited molecular. lasers. Of these the TEA CO2 system has emerged as the dominant pumping source generating an efficient multi megawatt single line emission step tunable (~ 2 cm−1 step interval) over a. fairly wide range (9–11μm) for which numerous molecules have vibrational absorption bands. The emissions shown in fig. (1), obtained using this pump source, contribute most of those reported over the last eight years; the predominance of emissions around 16 pm being in response to the demand for a source at this wavelength for the uranium enrichment programme. This chapter briefly reviews understanding and development of these systems over the last decade with some emphasis on recent progress in the field since 1982; comprehensive reviews on work prior to this date are to be found in refs (1–4).


Pump Laser Permanent Dipole Moment Unstable Resonator Total Partition Function Collisional Energy Transfer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Harrison
    • 1
  • H. N. Rutt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsHeriot-Watt UniversityRiccarton, EdinburghUK
  2. 2.UKAEA Culham LaboratoryAbingdon, OxonUK

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