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Center Independent Research & Development: LaRC IRAD

Mid-Infrared Lasers

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Mid infrared solid state lasers for Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) systems required for understanding atmospheric chemistry are not available. This program will use 2 methods for circumventing the nonradiative quenching effect to enable such systems.

Mid Infrared DIAL systems can provide vital data needed by atmospheric scientists to understand atmospheric chemistry. The Decadal Survey recommended missions, such as ASCENDS and GACM, to measure atmospheric constituents such as CO2, CH4, CO, O3, NO2, SO2, and CH2O.  However, as noted by the Decadal Survey, mid infrared solid state lasers needed for DIAL systems are not available. This program proposes a systematic search for novel mid infrared solid state lasers utilizing a quantum mechanical model and verifying results using spectroscopy.  Specifically novel mid infrared lasers will be sought to measure the atmospheric constituents noted above.  A 2 front approach is proposed.  On 1 front, Langley’s quantum mechanical model will be used, where applicable, to predict good laser materials.  On the other front, mid infrared spectrometers will measure both absorption and fluorescence spectra will to be analyzed.  This information will verify the quantum mechanical model predictions and serve as input parameters for laser models. A successful program ends with the identification of a good laser material for at least 1 of the listed atmospheric constituents and a measurement of its germane spectroscopic parameters.  The eventual goal is the demonstration of a mid infrared laser suitable for remote sensing work.

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