The optical quality of a pulsed atmospheric CO2 electric laser is investigated. The density disturbances in the optical cavity are caused by edge waves originating at the anode and cathode. Volumetric heating effects associated with a nonuniform electric discharge are shown to be negligible. The disturbance propagating from the cathode results from a discontinuity in the spatial heating and the cathode fall. The wave emanating from the anode is associated with the presence of a solid surface that prevents the gas from expanding. As a result, lasers have to be designed with pulse durations much less than the acoustic transit time across the cavity.
© 1974 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 17, 1974
Published: November 1, 1974
E. R. Pugh, J. Wallace, J. H. Jacob, D. B. Northam, and J. D. Daugherty, "Optical Quality of Pulsed Electron-Beam Sustained Lasers," Appl. Opt. 13, 2512-2517 (1974)