Abstract

A simple technique for sequentially Q-switching molecular lasers (e.g., CO2, CO, HF) is discussed in which an optical scanner is used as an optical folding element in a laser cavity consisting of a stationary diffraction grating and partially reflecting mirror. Sequential Q-swtiching of a conventional CO2 laser is demonstrated in which over sixty-two transitions between 9.2 μ and 10.8 μ are observed. Rapid repetition rates (200 Hz) and narrow laser pulses (<5 μsec) allow conventional signal processing techniques to be used with this multi-wavelength laser source which is a versatile tool for laser propagation studies, absorption spectroscopy, and gain measurements. Results of a preliminary experiment demonstrating the utility of measuring selective absorption of CO2 laser wavelengths by C2H4 is shown, but selective absorption by atmospheric CO2, NH3, and O3 can also be studied. With appropriate optical scanners and diffraction gratings, sequential Q-switching of CO and HF lasers is possible.

© 1972 Optical Society of America

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