Longitudinal mode selection by injection has been demonstrated as a viable technique for tailoring a TEA-CO2 laser with pulse energies of a Joule or greater to fit the requirements of a coherent lidar transmitter. Once reliable generation of single-longitudinal-mode (SLM) pulses is obtained, one can study the intrapulse frequency variation and attempt to determine the sources of frequency sweeping, or chirp. These sources include the effect of the decaying plasma, the thermal gradient due to the energy dissipation associated with the laser mechanism itself, and the pressure shift of the center frequency of the laser transition. The use of the positive-branch unstable resonator as an efficient means of coupling a discharge with transverse spatial dimensions of the order of centimeters to an optical cavity mode introduces another concern: namely, what can be done to emphasize transverse mode discrimination in an unstable resonator cavity while maintaining high coupling efficiency. These issues are briefly discussed in the paper, and representative experimental examples are included.
LASERS AND MASERS
NASA. Langley Research Center Closed-Cycle, Frequency-Stable CO2 Laser Technology; p 55-63