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Atomic Xenon Laser


Achievement of Ultimate Efficiencies and Output Powers for Atomic Xenon Laser Excited by Different Methods

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics
  • FIR-OTH/Other/Fission Reactors
  • OTH-ELE/Electrotechnology/Other

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Siberian Branch of RAS / Institute of High Current Electronics, Russia, Tomsk reg., Tomsk\nFIAN Lebedev, Russia, Moscow\nInstitute of General Physics named after A.M. Prokhorov RAS, Russia, Moscow


  • Anteon Corporation, USA, OH, Wright-Patterson\nDepartment of the Navy / Naval Research Laboratory, USA, DC, Washington\nSchafer Corporation, USA, NM, Albuquerque\nUniversity of Twente / Department of Applied Physics, The Netherlands, Enschede\nApplied Research Associates, Inc., USA, NM, Albuquerque\nThe Boeing Company, USA, VA, Arlington

Project summary

The objective of this Project is to obtain the data on ultimate efficiencies and specific output powers of atomic xenon laser at the 1.73-, 2.03- and 2.65 mm lines using different pumping methods (pulse self-maintained discharge with pre-ionization; barrier discharge; glow discharge; discharge initiated or controlled by an electron beam; discharge with hard component; electron beams; products of nuclear reactions), as well as formation of high-quality laser beam and propagation of laser radiation through atmosphere. The performance of such experimental investigations will be accompanied by theoretical simulation. The experiments realized at pulse self-maintained discharge with pre-ionization; barrier discharge; glow discharge; discharge initiated or controlled by an electron beam; discharge with hard component; and electron beam will be carried out both in the mode of single pulses and pulse-periodic mode. With no relation to a pumping method, the pulse duration of above mentioned lasers will occupy the range from 100 ns to 10 ms. The Project is based on the last achievements in the investigation and developments of IR lasers on xenon atomic transitions as well as on the creation of new types of pumping systems. There will be used all basic methods of gas media pumping that are promising for getting high efficiencies and output energies of atomic xenon lasers. All participants of the Project possess vast experience in investigations of atomic xenon lasers and their use for practical purposes.

VNIIEF is an acknowledged leader in the researches dealing with transformation of nuclear reactions energy into laser radiation, moreover, it is just VNIIEF where pumping of lasers by nuclear radiation was realized for the first time. Such lasers were then called nuclear-pumped lasers (NPLs). The main bulk of NPL researches is now performed at the experimental facility including a pulse water reactor VIR-2M and laser setup LUNA-2M. A large number of atomic xenon laser investigations were performed with the use of pulse reactors. Maximum energy parameters and lowest lasing thresholds were obtained at the 1.73-, 2.03-, and 2.65 mm atomic Xe lines. The pulse duration of a nuclear-pumped atomic xenon laser will constitute no more than 10 ms. Moreover, in VNIIEF there were advanced and investigated three-electrode schemes of double-discharge formation. With the use of such schemes there were investigated exсimer lasers, CO2-lasers and atomic xenon lasers. The obtained parameters of such lasers are at the level of world best achievements. At such method of discharge formation, the minimal inductance of the main pumping source connection to the discharge gap is achieved. Besides, different gas-discharge lasers with plate electrodes were suggested, developed and investigated in VNIIEF. The pulse duration of atomic xenon laser with three-electrode scheme of double-discharge formation will not exceed 2 ms.

HCEI SB RAS is widely known by its activities in developing efficient pulse sources of laser radiation of different spectral ranges pumped by different types of gas discharges and electron beams. When high-pressure gas lasers were investigated, kilojoules output energies in pulse mode were attained; in particular, output energy of 100 J was obtained for the atomic xenon laser and average output power up to 1 kW was registered for CO2-laser. Now HCEI has variety of laser setups to study laser action on xenon atomic transitions, experimental facilities and measuring equipment, large experience in treating atomic xenon lasers excited by electron beams and various discharges as well as facilities aimed at studying barrier discharge, high-pressure volume discharge with UV pre-ionization and pulse glow-discharge. The laser pulse duration for the above-listed pulse lasers will not exceed 100 ms.

FIAN RAS is well-known for its activities in developing of electroionization and electron-beam pumped lasers on IR transitions of Ar, Kr and Xe atoms including development of new methods relating to arrangement of stable discharges in high-pressure rare gas mixtures, search for modes providing ultimately high efficiency of electron-beam energy transformation to laser radiation during the entire pumping pulse and minimization of electron beam current sustaining the discharge. The laser pulse duration for pulse electroionization and electron-beam lasers will not exceed 100 ms. A special opto-acoustic system was developed to investigate pulse laser radiation absorption in multi-component mixtures of atmospheric gases.

GPI RAS occupies a leading position in the world in the simulation of kinetic processes in laser gas media at different pumping methods including the medium of the atomic xenon laser. There are developed detailed kinetic models (namely, program package PLASER) including up to the several hundreds of plasma-chemical reactions that allow to determine plasma parameters including optical and laser characteristics of multi-component gas mixtures. Some programs of 3-D simulation of light generation and amplification in the gas media were developed.

The following activities will be performed in the course of carrying out the given Project:

1. Determination of the ultimate efficiencies and specific output energies of atomic xenon laser at different pumping methods (pulse self-sustained discharge with pre-ionization; barrier discharge; glow discharge; discharge initiated by an electron beam; electron beam; products of nuclear reactions) and submission a proposal on the most promising conditions of laser excitation.

2. Execution of theoretical simulation that will make it possible to define basic kinetic processes in the xenon laser and explain the reasons of maximum efficiency and maximum specific radiation energies realization.

3. Investigation of conditions which have an influence on forming of laser beam with minor pergence.

4. Measuring in time of discharge (current, discharge gap voltage, current derivative, energy deposition) and laser (energy, power and spectral composition of radiation) characteristics and, basing on these experiments, formulating of recommendations on discharge electric contours of Xe-laser to provide its maximum efficiency.

5. Measuring of radiation absorption cross-sections for pulse Xe-laser in atmospheric gases using the opto-acoustic method and simulation the conditions of laser radiation distribution in atmosphere.

6. Experiments will be carried out only with such gas mixtures and cavity mirrors at whose use it is possible to realize laser action principally on one of three main laser lines (1.73, 2.03, or 2.65 mm).

The works devoted to previous investigations of atomic xenon laser in VNIIEF, HCEI SB RAS, FIAN RAS, and GPI RAS are practically approved at the leading International Conferences and in private meetings during the visits to the Laboratories of USA, Japan and Germany and widely presented in scientific publications.

The significance of this Project consists in:

- defining the most promising for practical applications methods and systems of atomic Xe-laser pumping as well as realizing of conditions at which maximum efficiency and specific output energy are achieved;

- creating high-power effective lasers on xenon atom transitions which applicable to practical application;

- providing essential economic support for Russian scientists during the period of the Project realization.

The Project meets the ISTC goals because the implementation of the Project activities will assist in re-orientation of scientists occupied with nuclear weapons research and creation towards the investigations performed in the interests of civilian market economy.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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