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Magnetic field and pressure effects in a saturated gas laser amplifier


Menzies, Robert Thomas (1970) Magnetic field and pressure effects in a saturated gas laser amplifier. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/3h9r-da77.


Theoretical and experimental studies of a gas laser amplifier are presented, assuming the amplifier is operating with a saturating optical frequency signal. The analysis is primarily concerned with the effects of the gas pressure and the presence of an axial magnetic field on the characteristics of the amplifying medium. Semiclassical radiation theory is used, along with a density matrix description of the atomic medium which relates the motion of single atoms to the macroscopic observables. A two-level description of the atom, using phenomenological source rates and decay rates, forms the basis of our analysis of the gas laser medium. Pressure effects are taken into account to a large extent through suitable choices of decay rate parameters.

Two methods for calculating the induced polarization of the atomic medium are used. The first method utilizes a perturbation expansion which is valid for signal intensities which barely reach saturation strength, and it is quite general in applicability. The second method is valid for arbitrarily strong signals, but it yields tractable solutions only for zero magnetic field or for axial magnetic fields large enough such that the Zeeman splitting is much larger than the power broadened homogeneous linewidth of the laser transition. The effects of pressure broadening of the homogeneous spectral linewidth are included in both the weak-signal and strong-signal theories; however the effects of Zeeman sublevel-mixing collisions are taken into account only in the weak-signal theory.

The behavior of a He-Ne gas laser amplifier in the presence of an axial magnetic field has been studied experimentally by measuring gain and Faraday rotation of linearly polarized resonant laser signals for various values of input signal intensity, and by measuring nonlinearity - induced anisotropy for elliptically polarized resonant laser signals of various input intensities. Two high-gain transitions in the 3.39-μ region were used for study: a J = 1 to J = 2 (3s2 → 3p4) transition and a J = 1 to J = 1 (3s2 → 3p2) transition. The input signals were tuned to the centers of their respective resonant gain lines.

The experimental results agree quite well with corresponding theoretical expressions which have been developed to include the nonlinear effects of saturation strength signals. The experimental results clearly show saturation of Faraday rotation, and for the J = 1 t o J = 1 transition a Faraday rotation reversal and a traveling wave gain dip are seen for small values of axial magnetic field. The nonlinearity induced anisotropy shows a marked dependence on the gas pressure in the amplifier tube for the J = 1 to J = 2 transition; this dependence agrees with the predictions of the general perturbational or weak signal theory when allowances are made for the effects of Zeeman sublevel-mixing collisions. The results provide a method for measuring the upper (neon 3s2) level quadrupole moment decay rate, the dipole moment decay rates for the 3s2 → 3p4 and 3s2 → 3p2 transitions, and the effects of various types of collision processes on these decay rates.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • George, Nicholas A.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:23 March 1970
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Air Force Office of Scientific ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08112015-153553907
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9097
Deposited By: Bianca Rios
Deposited On:12 Aug 2015 14:34
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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