Radio frequency (rf) discharge is currently preferred as the excitation method for gas molecular lasers because this technique provides capabilities for such items as uniform high density power loading, high system efficiency because of an absence of need for ballast resistor, and long operating life through use of nonmetal electrodes. With CO2 lasers the rf excitation is extensively applied not only to waveguide1 but to industrial transverse flow2 and fasl axial flow3 lasers, while in the case of CO lasers the application of this technique seems to be limited to waveguide4 and supersonic flow5,6 lasers. To obtain a 1-kW, high-beam-quality output of 5-μm band we have designed and constructed a subsonic axial flow CO laser excited by a transverse rf discharge. We describe the performance characteristics of this laser in this paper.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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