A High-pressure Carbon Dioxide Gasdynamic Laser

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1973 - Carbon dioxide lasers - 20 pages
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A carbon dioxide gasdynamic laser was operated over a range of reservoir pressure and temperature, test-gas mixture, and nozzle geometry. A significant result is the dominant influence of nozzle geometry on laser power at high pressure. High reservoir pressure can be effectively utilized to increase laser power if nozzle geometry is chosen to efficiently freeze the test gas. Maximum power density increased from 3.3 W/cu cm of optical cavity volume for an inefficient nozzle to 83.4 W/cu cm at 115 atm for a more efficient nozzle. Variation in the composition of the test gas also caused large changes in laser power output. Most notable is the influence of the catalyst (helium or water vapor) that was used to depopulate the lower vibrational state of the carbon dioxide. Water caused an extreme deterioration of laser power at high pressure (100 atm), whereas, at low pressure the laser for the two catalysts approached similar values. It appears that at high pressure the depopulation of the upper laser level of the carbon dioxide by the water predominates over the lower state depopulation, thus destroying the inversion.

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