Optical amplification by the stimulated emission of Cs(6p 2P3/2)-Ar atomic pairs, observed in pump-probe experiments over a ∼290 GHz-wide spectral region lying to the red of the Cs D2 line (852.1 nm), has been realized by photoexciting thermalized, ground state Cs-Ar atoms in the 834-849 nm wavelength interval. When the gain medium is pumped at the peak of the CsAr B2Σ1/2 +←X2Σ1/2 + transition at 836.7 nm, maximum gain occurs between 852.2 nm and 852.3 nm and >28% of the energy stored in the upper laser level is extracted with 8 ns (FWHM) probe pulses in a single pass. From the measured rate of saturation of the extracted pulse energy with increasing probe intensity, the product of γ0L and Esat, the saturation pulse energy, is measured directly to be 400 ± 20 µJ and the lower limit for the saturation intensity (Isat) of this amplifier is estimated to be 10 kW-cm−2 at 852.2 nm. Circularly polarizing the optical pump beam increases the optical-to-optical conversion efficiency by 20%, and the storage lifetime of the upper laser level is observed from temporally-resolved gain spectra to be 5 ± 1 ns. Pump excitation spectra also reveal a significant contribution from Ar-Cs-Ar (3-body) photoassociation and suprathermal Ar atoms generated by the dissociation of the CsAr B2Σ1/2 + complex. Multipass-amplifier geometries with broad-bandwidth probe signals are expected to yield upper state energy extraction efficiencies above 50%. This alkali-rare gas amplifier demonstrates the efficiencies available with the storage of energy in, and optical extraction from, excited atomic collision pairs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics