Conventional preionized discharge XeCl lasers typically operate at efficiencies of 2 percent or less. However, the voltage requirements for rapid breakdown are not consistent with efficient, impedance matched coupling of the electric driver to the laser load. Efficiencies as high as 4 percent have been achieved with an electric circuit in which the breakdown and sustaining pulses are provided toy separate circuits. In such schemes, the initial high–voltage breakdown pulse must be isolated from the low-impedance sustaining circuit. Rail–gap switches have been used previously for this application. However, for long life, high-repetition-rate lasers, rail gaps have several disadvantages. The most serious of these axe electrode erosion and the necessity for flowing gas to give reproducible performance.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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