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Title: Studies of rare gas halide lasers
Author: Hogan, Daniel Christopher
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1983
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This thesis presents the results of a study of the mechanisms responsible for limiting the laser pulse duration obtainable in xenon chloride lasers which are excited by UV-preionized, self-sustained gas discharges. The xenon chloride laser system, the principal emission band of which is centred around 308 nm, belongs to the class of high pressure gas lasers known as 'rare-gas halides'(RGH). RGH lasers are now well known for their high peak power output at a number of wavelengths from 193 nm to 353 nm in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. To date, however, they have only been operated in the pulsed mode with laser pulse durations of ~1000 ns for devices employing electron beam excitation and ~30 ns for devices employing transverse discharge excitation. There is no a priori kinetic limitation which prevents RGH lasers from operating in the CW mode, and an attempt to extend the duration of the laser pulse would enable the quality of laser output to be improved. The laser pulse duration of a discharge excited XeCl* laser was extended by about one order of magnitude - to 270 ns FWHM - by the use of a distributed resistance electrode to stabilize the discharge. The typical gas mixture used in the laser was ~2 atm of Ne (buffer gas), ~25 mbar of Xe, and 2.5 mbar of HC1. However, the laser pulse duration obtained was considerably shorter than the 500 ns duration, 2000 A peak current, discharge excitation pulse. The cause of this difference between the duration of the laser output pulse and the discharge current pulse was found by carrying out a comprehensive parametric study of the laser, combined with a detailed spectroscopic analysis and the results of a semi-empirical computer model. Two interrelated factors were identified as being responsible for the short duration of the laser output: namely, a temporal collapse of the discharge volume and a spatially non-uniform depletion of the HCl within this volume. The experimental results presented here contradict an earlier theory which ascribed the onset of discharge instabilities in RGH lasers to step-wise ionization of the minority rare gas atoms, and which attributed stability enhancement properties to the electronegative halogen gases used in RGH lasers.
Supervisor: Webb, Colin E. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gas lasers ; Gases ; Rare ; Halides ; Laser pulses ; Ultrashort ; Xenon