A self-consistent computer model was used to simulate the plasma kinetics (radially resolved) and parametric behaviour of an 18 mm bore (6 W) copper vapour laser for a wide range of optimum and non-optimum operating conditions. Good quantitative agreement was obtained between modelled results and experimental data including the temporal evolution of the 4p 2P 3/2, 4s 2 2D 5/2 and 4s 22D 3/2 Cu laser level populations derived from hook method measurements. The modelled results show that the two most important parameters that affect laser behaviour are the ground state copper density and the peak electron temperature T e. For a given pulse repetition frequency (prf), maximum laser power is achieved by matching the copper atom density to the input pulse energy thereby maintaining the peak T e at around 3 eV. However, there is a threshold wall temperature (and copper density) above which the plasma tube becomes thermally unstable. At low prf (<8 kHz), this thermal instability limits the attainable copper density (and consequently the laser output power) to values below the optimum for matching to the input pulse energy. For higher prf values (>8 kHz), the copper density can be matched to the input pulse energy to give maximum laser power because the corresponding wall temperature then falls below the threshold temperature for thermal instability. For prf > 14 kHz, the laser output becomes highly annular across the tube diameter due to a severe depletion of the copper atom density on axis caused by radial ion pumping.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Applied Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 1997|