Press Releases > Measurement of the Plasma Environment in Rb Diode-Pumped Alkali Lasers

Measurement of the Plasma Environment in Rb Diode-Pumped Alkali Lasers

Press Release

Press Release

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop a combination of advanced, high-sensitivity diagnostics for direct measurements of plasma electron density and electron energy distribution function (EEDF), using the complementary techniques of microwave interferometry and Stark broadening.

Diode-pumped alkali lasers (DPAL) offer the potential for scaling to high output powers required for directed energy weapons systems. As power-scaling studies have progressed, increasing concern has emerged about uncertainty in the roles of higher-lying states and the degree of ionization, and their effects on device performance. Ionization by multi-photon absorption and collisional energy pooling may result in a plasma that reduces optical efficiency, increases gas heating, and diminishes beam quality. To address these concerns, PSI is developing advanced diagnostic concepts for measurements of the key plasma parameters, electron density and EEDF, in optically pumped Rb/He mixtures representative of high-power DPAL systems.

High power lasers are broadly employed for numerous scientific, industrial, and military applications, including materials processing, laser machining and directed energy weapons. DPAL are high-power lasers that hold potential for high average power, high energy efficiency and good beam quality suitable for both military and industrial applications. The availability of new technology to characterize the effects of plasma formation will provide a means to guide advanced power scaling and designs to benefit DoD implementation and industrial development.

For more information, contact:

Mr. William Kessler
Vice President, Applied Optics
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003