The atomic xenon laser is an attractive laser due to its relatively high efficiency at low pump rates and laser wavelength. Using a Nd-YAG pumped F-center laser operating single mode, the small signal gain and pressure broadening rates of the 1.73 μm transition in fission-fragment excited Ar/Xe, Ne/Ar/Xe, and He/Ar/Xe gas mixtures was measured. Laser wavelength and single mode output were monitored using a wavemeter and spectrum analyzer. The time dependent gain measurements at 1.73 μm indicate that the peak gain at line center can be as high as 1.2%/cm for average pump rates of 35 W/cc in 0.7 atmosphere mixtures of Ar/Xe. For pump rates above 20 W/cc, the gain begins to terminate before the fission-fragment pump pulse. The premature gain termination is thought to be due to the effects of gas heating since the addition of neon or helium stretches the width of the gain pulse. Gas impurities such as “air” in concentrations of 0.15% of the total gas pressure reduced the peak gain by 40%. Pressure broadening and shift rates for the 1.73 μm transition of xenon with mixtures of argon, neon, and helium buffers were determined by tuning the probe laser across the linewidth and fitting the data to a lorentzian lineshape. Gain scaling laws as well as the influence of Ne/Ar ratio and xenon concentration on the peak 1.73 μm gain will also be discussed.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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