Brief historical outline

A brief historical outline of research by the Laboratory of Gas Lasers of the LPI

The Laboratory of Gas Lasers (LGL) was established by Nobel Prize winner Academician N.G. Basov in the early 1980s with the view to study the physical principles of high-power laser systems for industry and for defence tasks. From 1983 to 1987, the Laboratory was headed by Prof. V.A. Danilychev, DSc (Phys. & Math.); from 1987 to 1996, by A.F. Suchkov, DSc (Phys. & Math.). Since 1996 to the present, the LGL has been headed by Prof. A.A. Ionin, DSc (Phys. & Math.). Staff members of the Laboratory took part in the development of a megawatt-class СО2 laser [P.V. Zarubin, Laser weapons: myth or reality? High-power lasers in the USSR and in the world (Vladimir: Transit-Iks JSC, 2009)], and average-power CO2 and CO lasers of ~10–30 kW for industry. Major lines of research by the LGL are excimer lasers, atomic transition lasers, molecular lasers, interaction of radiation with matter. Large-scale laser facilities were created at the Laboratory [A. Ionin et al., AIP Conf. Proceedings 64: 697 (2003)], such as an electron beam pumped KrF laser (under the leadership of V.D. Zvorykin, CSc (Phys. & Math.)) (emission wavelength, λ = 0.248 μm; active volume, ~20 litres; radiation energy Q, ~100 J; duration of radiation pulse, 100 ns); electron beam- and electroionization-pumped atomic-transition pulsed lasers (under the leadership of I.V. Kholin, DSc (Phys. & Math.) – an Ar/Xe laser (λ = 1.73 μm, Q = 80 J), a He/Ar laser (λ =1.27 μm, Q = 4.5 J), a He/Kr laser (λ = 2.52 μm, Q = 4 J), a He/Ne laser (λ = 0.58 μm, Q = 1.5 J); pulsed electroionization molecular lasers (under the leadership of Prof.A.A. Ionin, DSc (Phys. & Math.)) – a СО2 laser (λ = 10.6 μm, Q = 500 J), a pulsed laser on the basic transitions of the CO molecule (λ ~ 5–6 μm, Q = 800 J) and its overtone transitions (λ ~3 μm, Q = 50 J), a N2O laser (λ = 10.9 μm, Q = 100 J), a quasi-continuous-wave supersonic CO laser of 100 kW power (run duration, ~1 ms) [A. Ionin et al. Proc. SPIE 1397: 453 (1991)]. Under the leadership of Prof. B.I. Vasilyev, DSc (Phys. & Math.), the scheme was proposed and the design developed of a two-frequency differential-absorption lidar, in which the reference beam is formed from the radiation of a CO2 laser, and the radiation frequency of the working beam is successively tuned by the spectral lines of a NH3 laser.

EBSD molecular laser
with active volume of 10 liters
Electron beam pumped KrF laser
with active volume ~25 liters
Laser on atomic transitions of rare gases
with active volume ~10 liters

The LGL has actively collaborated and continues to collaborate with foreign organizations in the development of laser technologies. In 1992–1996, jointly with colleagues from Great Britain and France, staff members of the Laboratory participated in the EUREKA 113 European project CO EUROLASER [J. Spalding et al. Proc. SPIE 2713: 103 (1996)], aimed at the development of high-power CO lasers for industry. In 1994, a pulsed periodic CO laser operating at room temperature, of a mean power 1 kW, was started at the Institute of Technical Physics, Stuttgart, Germany, with the participation of the LGL [S. Walter et al. Quantum Electron., 22: 833 (1995)]. In 1995–1998, the Laboratory took part in the EUREKA 1390 European project ULTRALAS (Russian, Austria, Germany and other countries), the aim of which was to develop the principles of creating a 100-kW CO2 laser for industry. In 1995–1996, jointly with colleagues from the Applied Technology Directorate (the White Sands Test Facility, USA) and the equipment they brought, joint studies of the phase conjugation of CO2 and CO laser radiation were carried out at the LGL laser facilities [C. Beairsto et al. Quantum Electron., 27(7): 614 (1997)]. The same facilities were used in 1995–1997 in joint works with DuPont (Wilmington, Delaware, USA) on laser modification of synthetic fabrics’ surface using the frequency-selective interaction of CO laser radiation at a wavelength of ~6 μm with the surface of nylon and dacron fibres to eliminate the so called “synthetic” lustre [H. Kobsa et al. Proc. SPIE 3092: 422 (1996)], and in 1997–1999 for joint studies with the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado, USA) to investigate the interaction of the radiation of high-power IR lasers with rocks characteristic of oil-bearing fields [R. Graves et al. Proc. SPIE 3885: 159 (2000)] within the framework of a project aiming to analyze the possibility of creating laser drilling rig systems. In the recent decade, LGL’s staff members participated in programmes of the RAS Presidium, in many RFBR projects, in international projects for the development, jointly with the University of New Mexico (USA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (USA), of a supersonic CO laser operating on the basic and overtone transitions of the CO molecule [W. Bohn et al. Quantum Electron., 35: 1126 (2005)]; in studies supported by ISTC partner projects (jointly with the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development) of electric-discharge generators of singlet oxygen – an energy donor for the oxygen-iodine laser (see below) and of the electric discharge, controlled by combined femtosecond and nanosecond UV pulses of a hybrid KrF laser system (see below).

1. А.А. Ionin, High-power infrared and ultraviolet laser systems and their applications, UFN, 182 (7), 773-781 (2012).