Abstract

Resonance saturation represents an efficient and rapid method of coupling laser energy into a gaseous medium. In the case of a plasma superelastic collision quenching of the laser maintained resonance state population effectively converts the laser beam energy into translational energy of the free electrons. Subsequently, ionization of the laser pumped species rapidly ensues as a result of both the elevated electron temperature and the effective reduction of the ionization energy for those atoms maintained in the resonance state by the laser radiation. This method of coupling laser energy into a plasma has several advantages over inverse bremsstrahlung and could therefore be applicable to several areas of current interest including plasma channel formation for transportation of electron and ion beams, x-ray laser development, laser fusion, negative ion beam production, and the conversion of laser energy to electricity.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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