One of the major problems in the development of high-average-power excimer lasers is the achievement of a reliable switch to efficiently transfer the energy stored in a pulse-forming network into the laser discharge mixture. Toward this aim, a variety of discharge techniques have been developed, including phototriggered laser discharges. The main advantage of the phototriggering technique over others is to suppress the fast switch (a thyratron or a spark gap) usually required in the primary discharge circuit. In a phototriggered discharge, the electrodes are directly connected to a. storage unit slowly charged at a voltage well above the steady-state breakdown voltage. Once the desired voltage is reached, the UV or x-ray preionization initiates the gas breakdown. With devices working in such a way, high laser output energy (7 J)1 and high efficiency (4%)2 have been reported.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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