It is widely recognized that optically pumped NH3 is a powerful source of radiation in the 12-μm region. Typically, the 9R(30) transition of CO2 is used to pump the R-branch of the v2band of NH3, and inversion is created in the P-branch transitions from 11 to 13 μm. Much research has been carried out to characterize and optimize the performance of NH3 oscillators and amplifiers in the 12-μm region,1,2 However, little attention has been paid to the Q-branch of NH3, which can also be inverted by optical pumping.3 Significant gain can be created in the 10.7- and 10.3-μm regions. This paper investigates the use of optically pumped NH3 as an amplifier in the 10-μm region with emphasis on high pressure operation. It is shown that dilute mixtures of NH3 are very effective amplifiers of pulsed CO2 radiation and that such amplifiers provide significant advantages over pulsed CO2 discharges in high pressure applications.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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