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Optical Engineering

Low-pressure cesium and potassium diode pumped alkali lasers: pros and cons
Author(s): Boris V. Zhdanov; Matthew D. Rotondaro; Michael K. Shaffer; Randall J. Knize
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents the results of our experiments on a comparative study of cesium and potassium diode pumped alkali lasers (DPALs) aimed to determine which of these two lasers has more potential to scale to high powers. For both lasers, we have chosen a “low-pressure DPAL approach,” which uses buffer gas pressure of about 1 atm for spin-orbit mixing of the excited states of alkali atoms to provide population inversion in the gain medium. The goal of this study was to determine power-limiting effects, which affect the performance of these DPALs, and find out how these limiting effects can be mitigated. We studied the performance of both lasers in CW and pulsed modes using both static and flowing gain medium and pump with different pulse duration. We observed output power degradation in time from the initial value to the level corresponding to the CW mode of operation. As a result of this study, some essential positive and negative features of both DPALs were revealed, which should be taken into account for power-scaling experiments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 February 2016
PDF: 6 pages
Opt. Eng. 55(2) 026105 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.55.2.026105
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 55, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Boris V. Zhdanov, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)
Matthew D. Rotondaro, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)
Michael K. Shaffer, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)
Randall J. Knize, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)

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