Laser Processes in CO2
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Like any other laser the basic structure of a CO2 laser consists of an amplifying medium with inverted population between two mirrors [3.1]. The mirrors form a stable or an unstable resonator between which the radiation oscillates. For the CO2 laser the inverted population is between molecular vibrational-rotational transitions of the electronic ground state level of the CO2 molecule. The populations of the upper and lower states are obtained during an electrical discharge in a gas mixture containing CO2. Other gases like N2, He, H2O, and Xe are added to CO2 because of their favorable effects on the homogeneity of the discharge or the energy transfer processes so that a higher production rate of the inverted medium is obtained. There are many vibrational-rotational transitions in the CO2 molecule for which laser action can be observed. In this chapter we shall treat the process of stimulated emission, the gain, power extraction, and the molecular energy transfer processes.
KeywordsLower Laser Level Vibrational Excitation Vibrational Temperature Average Kinetic Energy Inversion Density
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