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Popular Pumping Mechanisms

Requirements of a LASER
(i) Active Medium :- Gain per unit length is an inherent property.

(ii) Optical Resonator :- Length (L) dependence of gain ( but L can not be very very high without limit, rather it should be as low as possible).

(iii) Pumping Mechanism (Method of obtaining Population Inversion) :Has to be very effective in order to ensure high enough “Population Difference”.

NOTE :- All three of the above are equally important. However, having
chosen an active medium and optimized the resonator parameters, the factor most potentially tailored is the Pumping mechanism.

Population Inversion Methods / Pumping Mechanisms
(i) Optical Pumping

(ii) Electrical Pumping Other Methods (iii) Chemical Pumping


Most common

(iv) Gas dynamic Pumping (v) Laser Pumping (vi) Nuclear Pumping

(vii) Particle-kinetic energy Pumping

Yb:YAG. Cr:LiSAlF. Er: YAG Nd:Glass. Er:Glass Nd:KGW Nd:YVO4 Nd:GSGG Solid State Lasers Nd:YLF Ti:Sapphire.Optically Pumped Lasers :Ruby (Al2O3 – Cr3+) Nd:YAG (Nd –Y2Al5O12). Cr:LiCaAlF Alexandrite (Cr doped chrysoberyl = BeAl2O4 – Cr 3+) Dye Lasers (Liquid Laser) Cs Vapor (Gas Laser) Fiber Lasers .

He-Cd.8 mm) (ii) Ionic :.In Ga As. CO.Ga As. Ga In As Sb. In P.Ar. C2H2F2. In Al Ga P. CH3OH.He-Ne. He-Zn.Electrically Pumped Lasers :Gas Lasers :(i) Atomic :. Pb Vapor.CO2. Au Vapor. Kr. N2. CH3F. Ne. Excimer. Xe (iii) Molecular :.In Al Ga As. HCN (Far IR) Semiconductor Lasers :(i) Binary :. He-Hg. Zn Se ( II-VI). Cu Vapor. Ga N (Blue-Green) (ii) Ternary :. Water Vapor (Far IR – 30 µm to 1. Al Ga As Sb . Ga Al As (iii) Quaternary :.

Excimer . N2. Nd:YAG (by Diode Lasers). X-ray Laser. COIL. DF.X-ray Laser Other Pumping methods:Free Electron Laser (Particle-kinetic energy Pumping). HBr. I-Photodissociation Gas Dynamic Pumping :. XeCl. Gamma Ray Laser . Dye Laser (by doubled & tripled Nd:YAG. XeF. Ar+.CO2 GDL Laser Pumping :CH3 OH (by CO2 Laser).Chemical Pumping :HF. Copper vapor. HCl. Q-switched Ruby. Krypton Laser) Nuclear Pumping :.KrF.

However.Gas lasers do not lend themselves so readily to optical pumping because of the small widths of their absorption lines and usually broad emission of the pumping lamps. . He lamp (~ 390 nm) and Cs vapor absorption lines match and hence optical pumping of the gas laser is possible.NOTE :.


Optical Pumping  Many optically pumped lasers have a gain medium consisting of rare earth or transition metal ions doped into an insulating dielectric solid. .  In a laser that is optically pumped. the upper laser level is populated by absorption of a photon from some optical ULL E source. LLL G  The light source can be a high-intensity lamp (lamp pumping) or another laser (laser pumping).  That is the laser material is illuminated with light at the right wavelength to excite the lasing species.

 The upper levels of the pump transition usually span a range of energies. In fact.  But the trend in recent years has been toward laser-pumped lasers. Thus. many (solid state) lasers are optically pumped with light sources emitting a broad range of wavelengths. . there are typically multiple upper levels. which all decay to the metastable ULL.  The early lasers were mostly lamp-pumped.  This means the laser can be excited at many wavelengths corresponding to any transition between G and those many upper levels.

The technique was developed by 1966 Nobel Prize winner Alfred Kastler in the early 1950s.Pumping Process :-  Light from a powerful source (Flash lamp or Arc lamp or incandescent lamp) is conveyed to the active material which is usually in the form of a cylindrical rod (diameter of few mms to few cms and length of few cms to few 10s of cms).  The laser can be operated in pulsed or CW mode depending on whether the pump source is pulsed or continuous. NOTE :“Optical pumping is a process in which light is used to raise (or ‘pump’) electrons from a lower energy level in an atom or molecule to a higher one”. .

Solid colors: metal. Light colors: fused quartz]. Blue : cold. [Red : hot. . Green : light.Schematic of Optical pumping of a laser rod (bottom) with an arc lamp (top). Non-green arrows: water flow.

Commonly used Optical Pumping Configurations 1. Diameter of the helix is small and helix is wound tightly. . Helical :Lamp Rod Rod Lamp Lamp is a long Quartz tube coiled into a helix. Light reaches directly or after reflection at the specular cylindrical surface.

 The distance between the electrodes. Rod Cylindrical reflector Elliptical reflector .2.  The “bore” of the flashlamp (the inside diameter of the quartz tubing or "envelope") is usually the same as the diameter of the laser rod. referred to as the “arc length” of this lamp. Lamp Lamp is placed along one of the focal axes F1 of the elliptical cylinder and the rod is placed along the second focal axis F2. Elliptical / Cylindrical :Lamp is in the form of a cylinder (Linear Lamp) and the length is ~ that of the active rod. is generally chosen to be about the same as the laser rod length. The lamp and rod are placed inside a reflecting housing with their axes parallel.

Gas arc lamp with water jacket for cooling .

Example :- Linear single and double lamp pumping of Nd:YAG Laser Single lamp elliptical reflector cavity .

Multiple Configurations :Multiple configurations using more than one elliptical cylinder or several lamps are used. Close-coupled (Double) Double. Close Coupled Configuration :The rod and the lamp are placed as close as possible and are surrounded by a close coupled cylindrical reflector.Ellipse . but are used in High Power systems.3. Efficiency of multiple designs is lower than the corresponding single configurations. Cylindrical close-coupled 4. Cylinders made of diffusely reflecting material (Eg : Compressed MgO or BaSO4 powder or white ceramic) are often used.

(c) Double-lamp close-wrap (d) Four-lamp close-wrap (e) Closecoupled multiple coaxial design . (b) Single-lamp closewrap.Close-coupled configurations (a) Circular cylinder.

 A reasonably efficient pumping geometry is an elliptical cylinder reflector.Four-lobe Elliptical Spherical NOTE :-  Helical pumping is simple but efficiency is poor. .  The most common pumping configurations are single ellipses with one lamp and double ellipses with two lamps.  Greater pumping efficiency is achieved with the rod and lamp as near one another as possible with an ellipse of low eccentricity.

Arrangement of Pump and Laser Rod .

A ruby laser head .

The top three are xenon flashlamps while the bottom one is a krypton arc lamp .Laser pumping lamps.

.These gas discharge lamps show the spectral line outputs of the various noble gases.

Thus. it is the best spectral match for these laser materials.  The Krypton lamp produces most of its output light in the infrared region of the absorption bands of Nd:YAG and Nd:Glass.NOTE : Three sources (lamps) for Optical Pumping :(a) Flash lamps (Pulsed pumping) (b) Arc lamps (CW pumping) (c) Incandescent lamps (Cheaper CW pumping with a Tungsten wire)  Flash/Arc Lamps generally use Xenon or Krypton gas inside a Quartz tube.  Krypton lamps are not widely used because of their cost (Far more expensive than xenon lamps). .

 Xenon lamps usually have lower efficiency. . Thus. high efficiency requirements and high power Nd:YAG and Nd:Glass systems demand the use of Krypton lamps.  In spite of being expensive.  Xenon flash lamps have greater emission in the blue-green region of ruby laser absorption. But they have sufficient output in the desired spectral region & their lower efficiency is usually acceptable. they are used with all ruby lasers.

Diode Laser Pumping End pumping Side pumping .

. . . . the pumping efficiency ηP can be written as the product of four terms as follows – P  r t a  pq . . the pump process can be divided into four distinct steps : 1. . . . . 3. . (1) Where. Transfer of this radiation to the active medium Absorption in the medium Transfer of the absorbed power to the upper laser level Thus. ηr = Lamp radiative efficiency ηt = Transfer efficiency ηa = Absorption efficiency ηpq = Power quantum efficiency . 4. Emission of radiation by the lamp 2.Pumping Efficiency :To calculate or estimate the pumping efficiency.

Lamp radiative efficiency (ηr) = The efficiency of conversion from electrical input to light output in the wavelength range corresponding to the pump bands of the laser medium.62 .8 = 0.9 – 0.43 = 0. Typical Values :- ηr = 0. Absorption efficiency (ηa) = The fraction of the light entering the rod that is actually absorbed by the material. Transfer efficiency (ηt) = The ratio of the pump power actually entering the rod to that emitted by the lamp in the useful pump range.36 for flash lamp pumped Nd:YAG laser for flash lamp pumped Alexandrite laser for elliptical pump cavity for helical lamp ηt = 0. Power quantum efficiency (ηpq) = The fraction of the absorbed power that leads to the population of the ULL.

Comparison of computed ηP values : [ 6. Elliptical pump chamber.8 9.5 5. lamp current density 2000 3000 A/cm2 . Lamp diameter = 5 mm ] Material Ruby Alexandrite Nd:YAG Nd:Glass Nd:Cr:GSGG ηr (%) 27 36 43 43 43 ηt (%) 78 65 82 82 82 ηa (%) 31 52 17 28 54 ηpq (%) 46 66 59 59 48 ηP (%) 3.3 mm diameter rod .0 8.0 3.1 .

4.Cr:GSGG is about 3 times that of Nd:YAG (because of Cr doping). Absorption efficiency for Nd. 2. Radiative efficiency is < 50 % in each case. Absorption efficiency for Alexandrite is quite high. Nd:Cr:GSGG and Alexandrite show high overall efficiency. . 3.Summary :1.

.  It can be seen that radiative and transfer efficiency is almost same but there is very large increase in absorption efficiency which leads to higher overall pump efficiency.Comparison between Lamp pumped and Diode pumped Nd:YAG laser  Nd:YAG pumped by GaAlAs QW laser at 808nm with emission Bandwidth 1-2 nm.

Example of Dye Laser .

Sorokin and J.Dye Laser “Stimulated emission observed from an organic dye.Lankard IBM J. Res. P.Dev. chloroaluminum phthalocyanine” P. 755 µm . 10. R. 162 (1966).

the dye can be replaced by another type in order to generate different wavelengths with the same laser. Compared to gases and most solid state lasing media. fluorescein. stilbene. .Dye Laser A dye (Liquid) laser is a laser which uses an organic dye as the lasing medium. usually as a liquid solution. malachite green. although this usually requires replacing other optical components in the laser as well. Some of the dyes are Rhodamine 6G. coumarin. Moreover. a dye can usually be used for a much wider range of wavelengths. The wide bandwidth makes them particularly suitable for tunable lasers and pulsed lasers. umbelliferone. tetracene.

Unusual flexibility and Tunability Near UV to Visible and Near IR 2. Extremely narrow Spectral Bandwidth (Ultrapure light) 3.Setup of a Tunable Dye Laser Attractions :1. Ultrashort pulses (ps to ~ 25 fs) .

often even carcinogenic and dirty material  Dyes themselves as well as the used solvents are sometimes highly toxic (A particularly hazardous solvent. sometimes used for cyanide dyes. making the pump sources expensive  Handling of poisonous. which greatly accelerates the transport of dyes into the skin) .Disadvantages : Rapid degradation during operation  Very Complex liquid handling requirement  Limited output power  Need for pumping with green or blue laser. is dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO).

reflection losses from the glass surfaces and contamination of the walls of the cuvette are avoided.e.Construction  Since organic dyes tend to degrade under the influence of light..e.  Dye lasers emission is inherently broad.. These advantages come at the cost of a complicated alignment. i. or be as a dye jet. i. a glass container. The dye solution can be flowing through a cuvette. as a sheet-like stream in open air from a specially-shaped nozzle.  With a dye jet. In order to produce narrow bandwidth tuning there are many types of cavities and resonators which include gratings. . the dye solution is normally circulated from a large reservoir. prisms and etalons.

Rhodamine 6G. emitting at 580 nm (yellow-orange). .

The reasons for its popularity : Its low cost  Effectiveness  Easy availability  Low toxicity Using Rhodamine 6G as the dye enables tuning of the output laser beam’s wavelength between 540 nm to 640 nm.The most popular dye used for the dye laser is Rhodamine 6G. (peak energy at 590 nm) depending on other factors in the laser. .

Dye Laser Nd:YAG Laser Doubled Nd at 532 nm Dye laser pumped by 532 nm doubled Nd:YAG .

Lasers suitable as pump source for Dye Lasers  Nitrogen (N2)  Argon Ion  Q-switched Ruby  Copper vapor  KrF  XeF  Frequency doubled Nd:YAG  Frequency tripled Nd:YAG  XeCl  Krypton .

A photon is absorbed.Working of Dye Laser The laser cycle begins with the dye molecule in the S0 level.G level. . (Intersystem crossing) Triplet state (T1) Excited state (S2) Triplet state (T2) The molecule very quickly undergoes an electronic transition (in a few femtoseconds). so that the molecule settles into the S1. raising the molecule to some vibrational and rotational energy in the S1 level. This transition does not produce laser radiation.


. The other processes generally only reduce the amount of usable energy for the output beam and increase the heating of the solvent.There are five paths by which the dye molecule may leave the S1.G state. These are : Spontaneous emission  Stimulated emission  Excited-state absorption of a pump photon  Excited-state absorption of a laser photon  Decay into a triplet band Only stimulated emission produces a usable laser beam.

they may occur non-radiatively in collisions between molecules. Absorption of radiation takes the molecule from the bottom level of S0 to one of the S1 levels. T1 S0 . the LLL being one of the Vibrational-Rotational levels of S0. The later serves as the ULL.states from which laser emission takes place are called Singlets (S). The Triplet states (T) do not contribute to lasing process. where non-radiative decay quickly brings it to the bottom level of S1. (Intersystem crossing) . Although S T transitions are radiatively forbidden.S1 T1 . Eg :.

 From the high-energy level the dye falls to a slightly lower state within the same singlet band. exciting it from the lowest singlet state to a high-energy level within the upper singlet band. Lasing begins when incident energy is absorbed by the dye. NOTE :An alternative pathway exists to destroy laser action in the triplet states of the dye. which serves as an upper lasing level.  A laser transition can then occur between the upper lasing level and the lower singlet state. which serves as a lower lasing level. .

NOTE :  Triplet states originate when excited electrons in the dye molecule spin in the same direction as that of the remaining electrons in the dye molecule. dye molecules can easily migrate to those states and in doing so depopulate the upper lasing level.  Because triplet states have lower energies than corresponding singlet states.  The singlet states result when the excited electron spins in the direction opposite to the lower-energy-state valence electrons still in the dye molecule. .

N2 laser with 10 ns pulses) (c) Adding triplet quenching additives like cyclooctatetraene. This is done by either (a) Rapidly flowing the dye (b) Using a pump source with a short pump pulse (e.Thus.. triplet states can form. For this reason. flashlamps must be designed to discharge as quickly as possible. NOTE : Triplet states are metastable and have much longer lifetimes than the singlet levels. dye molecules re-enter.g. They provide deexcitation pathway. Triplet quenching is required for efficient operation of Dye lasers.  When a flashlamp is used (generally have pulse widths of over 1 ms). .

Longitudinal/End Pumping Dye laser cavity is collinear with the pump laser cavity.Pumping Configurations :1. Pump Laser Output Dye Cuvette Mirror Mirror Longitudinal Pumping Configuration .

Mirror Cylindrical Lens Pump Laser Dye Cuvette Mirror Output Transverse Pumping Configuration . Transverse Pumping The axis of the dye cavity is perpendicular to the axis of the pump laser cavity.2.

Schematic of Laser-pumped (transverse) dye laser .

590 nm .

Flowing dye is pumped through a nozzle to create a broad.Dye flow helps suppress the effects of triplet absorption in the dye by ensuring a fresh supply of dye . flat stream onto which pump laser light is focused by a lens. NOTE :.Problems :- The biggest problems in Dye lasers are – (a) The heat management (b) Degradation of the dye itself Solution :Both problems are alleviated by forming the dye into a continually flowing sheet of liquid called a laminar flow. .


 Electrons are ejected from the cathode and drift towards the anode.Electrical Pumping Achieved by allowing a current to pass through the gas mixture.  An electric discharge may be produced in a gas contained inside a glass tube by applying a high voltage to the electrodes on either side of the tube. the current through is passed either along the laser axis direction (Longitudinal discharge) or transversely to it (Transverse discharge). ions and free electrons acquire additional KE from the applied electric field and are able to excite a neutral atom by collision. Generally. When an electron collides with an atom (or molecule). . there is a probability of raising it to some higher energy state.In an electrical discharge. Discharge Process :.

are accelerated to lower velocities and thus do not play any significant part in the excitation process.The positive ions. This is called “Collision of the 1st kind” . Electrical pumping occurs via one or both of the following processes – (i) Electron Impact (Direct) Eg: N2 Laser (ii) Resonant Energy Transfer (Indirect) Eg: He-Ne Laser.NOTE :. X is the atom in the ground state and X* is in excited state. owing to their much heavier mass. CO2 Laser Electron Impact e X  X* e Here. the gas consists of only one species.

 The electron loses KE. The internal energy added to the molecule may be in the form of vibrational and rotational energy.  Let B be in the ground state and A be in the excited state brought about by electron impact. the excitation can occur as a result of collisions between atoms of different species.  Total energy (Internal + KE) before and after the collision are the same. Resonant Energy Transfer  For a gas consisting of two species (A & B). as well as electronic energy. After the collision. Energy lost by the electron is converted to internal excitation energy of the atom. species A will be in ground state and B in excited state - A  B  A  B  E * * .

 The energy difference ΔE will be added to or subtracted from the translational energy.  This is called “Collision of the 2nd kind”.  This is an attractive way of pumping B, if the upper state of A is metastable forbidden transition.  Hence, once A is excited to its upper level, it will remain there for a long time, thus constituting an energy reservoir for excitation of the species B.

Resonant Energy Transfer Process

 An excited species can transfer energy to another by photon transfer. That
is, the photon spontaneously emitted by one species is absorbed by the other.

 Here, the 1st species drops to a lower level and the 2nd species is raised to a
higher level. This means there is an excitation transfer.  Hence, one requirement is : The photon emitted by the donor species must

be within the absorption linewidth of the acceptor species, i.e., there must
be a resonance (or near-resonance) of the atomic transitions.  The transfer cross-section is large, when the corresponding atomic or

molecular transition frequencies are approximately equal. However,
excitation transfer can occur between species A and B even if the transitions are not precisely resonant.

The energy defect (ΔE) can be made up from translational degrees of freedom, thus in accordance with the Law of Conservation of Energy.

Based on whether the temperature of the system is raised or lowered, the energy defect can be of two types :-

(i) Positive energy defect (Exothermic)
(ii) Negative energy defect (Endothermic)

Positive energy defect :

A* + B = A + B* + ΔE


This process raises

the temperature of
the system



The KE of AB after the excitation transfer is less than that before the transfer.ΔE B* ΔE A B  This endothermic process lowers the temperature of the system AB. Negative energy defect : A* A* + B = A + B* . There is Exothermic excitation transfer. The defect in energy is made up for at the expense of the collision partners. . The extra energy ΔE after the excitation transfer appears as additional KE of A & B.

Example of CO2 Laser .

The standard CO2 laser includes in the active medium a mixture of CO2 with N2 and He. Generally.CO2 Laser  Lasing in a CO2 molecule was first demonstrated by CKN Patel in 1964. The optimal proportion of these three gases in the mixture depends on the laser system and the excitation mechanism. for a continuous wave laser the typical proportions are: CO2:N2:He .1:1:8 .   CO2 is the active gas in which the lasing process occurs.

CO2 is a linear tri-atomic molecule. and the three atoms are situated on a straight line with the Carbon atom in the middle. Three vibrational modes of CO2 molecule are illustrated : Symmetric stretch mode Normal mode frequency 1388 cm-1 .

Bending mode Normal mode frequency 667 cm-1 Asymmetric stretch mode Normal mode frequency 2349 cm-1 .


The transition to the bending mode correspond to ~ 9. . The transition to the symmetric stretching mode correspond to the wavelength of 10.N2 (V = 0) Lasing in CO2 laser occur when there is a transition from higher energy level of the asymmetric mode into one of the other two.6 μm.6 μm (The most powerful and popular line).

V1 001 100 020 010 V0 .

10% N2 and the rest is He. Gas pressure inside the CO2 laser tube is 5-30 [Torr]. The energy of the accelerated electrons is transferred by collisions to the Nitrogen molecules and CO2 molecules. Note :. Helium molecules are added to the gas mixture in order to: – Empty the lower laser energy level so that population inversion is maintained. The first vibrational energy level of the Nitrogen molecule is very similar to the asymmetric stretching mode of the CO2 molecule.Role of N2 and He in CO2 Laser Operation Electric discharge is created in the laser tube.249 cal/gr* 0K]. so energy can be easily transferred from the excited Nitrogen molecules to the CO2 molecules. – Nitrogen molecules help in the process of the excitation of the CO2 molecules. of which 10% CO2 gas.24 cal/gr* 0K] is five times that of Nitrogen [0.The specific heat (which determines the thermal conductivity) of He [1. . – Stabilize the electrical discharge by taking heat away from the lasing area.