Laser Fundamentals

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Advanced Materials, Vol.

Laser Fundamentals

Palomo, F. Mogollon, J. Napoles, J. TCAD mixed-mode simulation of bitflip with pulsed laser. Kim, Jedo and Kaviany, Massoud Phonon recycling in ion-doped lasers. Applied Physics Letters, Vol. Increase of the positronium lifetime under high-frequency, intense laser fields. Rogelio Mogollon, J.

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Flores, D. Accelerated optimization problem search using Bose—Einstein condensation. New Journal of Physics, Vol. Qin, T. Mountjoy, G. Afify, N. Reid, M. If the output coupler is too transparent than there is much more loss of electromagnetic waves and this will decrease lasing significantly because population inversion will no longer be maintained. If the output coupler or partially reflective mirror is too reflective, then all the accumulated light that is built up in the resonant cavity will be trapped in the cavity.

The beam will not pass through the output coupler, producing little to no light making the laser ineffective. Lasers create a high energy beam of light by stimulated emission or spontaneous emission. Within in a molecule there are discrete energy levels. A simple molecular description has a low energy ground state E 1 and a high energy excited state E 2. When an electromagnetic wave, referred to as the incident light, irradiates a molecule there are two processes that can occur: absorption and stimulated emission.

Absorption occurs when the energy of the incident light matches the energy difference between the ground and excited state, causing the population in the ground state to be promoted to the excited state. The rate of absorption is given by the equation:. Where N 1 is the population in E 1 , and W 12 is the probability of this transition. The probability of the transition can also be related to the photon flux intensity of incident light :.

When absorption occurs photons are removed from the incident light and the intensity of the light is decreased. Stimulated emission is the reverse of absorption. Stimulated emission has two main requirements: there must be population in the excited state and the energy of the incident light must match the difference between the excited and ground state. When these two requirements are met, population from the excited state will move to the ground energy level.

During this process a photon is emitted with the same energy and direction as the incident light.

Unlike absorption, stimulated emission adds to the intensity of the incident light. The rate for stimulated emission is similar to the rate of absorption, except that it uses the population of the higher energy level:. Like absorption the probability of the transition is related to the photon flux of the incident light through the equation:. When absorption and stimulated emission occur simultaneously in a system the photon flux of the incident light can increase or decrease.

The change in the photon flux is a combination of the rate equations for absorption and stimulated emission. This is given by the equation:. Spontaneous emission has the same characteristics as stimulated emission except that no incident light is required to cause the transition from the excited to ground state. Population in the excited state is unstable and will decay to the ground state through several processes.


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Most decays involve non-radiative vibrational relaxation, but some molecules will decay while emitting a photon matching the energy of the energy difference between the two states. The rate of spontaneous emission is given by:. Where A is the spontaneous emission probability which depends on the transition involved. The coefficient A is an Einstein coefficient obtained from the spontaneous emission lifetime.

Since spontaneous emission is not competing with absorption, the photon flux is based solely on the rate of spontaneous emission. Figure 5. Diagram of spontaneous emission, stimulated emission and absorption in a two energy level system. The population ratio of a molecule or atom is found using the Boltzmann distribution and the energy of the ground state E 1 and the excited state E 2 :. Under normal conditions, the majority, if not all, of the population is in the lower energy level E 1.

This is because the energy of the excited is greater than the ground state. Normal thermal energy available kT is not enough to overcome the difference, and the ratio of population favors the ground state. For example, if the difference in energy between two states absorbes light at nm, the ratio of N 1 to N 2 is 5.

Laser: Fundamentals and Applications

The photon flux of the incident light is directly proportional to the difference in populations. Since the ground state has more populations, the photon flux decreases: there is more absorption occurring than stimulated emission. In order to increase the photon flux there must be more population in the excited state than in the ground state, generally known as a population inversion. In a two level energy system it is impossible to create the population inversion needed for a laser.

Instead three or four level energy systems are generally used Figure 5. Figure 6. Three and four level energy system. Three level processes involve pumping of population from the lowest energy level to the highest, third energy state. The population can then decay down to the second energy level or back down to the first energy level.