We recently reported the IR multiphoton excitation of SO2 to fluorescent states.1 Unlike the situation in larger molecules, the excitation is controlled by the laser intensity rather than the laser fluence. Figure 1 plots the fraction of SO2 molecules in the focal volume of the laser that undergoes IR multiphoton pumping to highly excited states as a function of CO2 laser intensity. While most of the molecules remain unexcited, comparison with optoacoustic measurements1 shows that the fraction of excited SO2 consists primarily of molecules which have absorbed more than 20 IR photons.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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