The successful development of high-output-energy self-sustained discharge-pumped excimer lasers has largely been due to the use of a low-inductance rail-spark-gap switch to provide a highly overvolted laser breakdown and a rapid transfer of energy stored in a pulse forming line (PFL) into the laser head.1 Efficient operation of a high-output-energy XeCl laser has recently been demonstrated by researchers at Northrop using a rail-gap transfer switch together with an auxiliary spiker circuit.2 The transfer gaps in all these lasers are required to hold off high voltages (50-100 kV) and transfer large PFL energies (100-300 J) making it very difficult to operate them repetitively. A new electrical excitation scheme is described which solves this problem without sacrificing the key features provided by the transfer gap.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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