What is a Chemical Laser?

Chemical lasers can achieve continuous wave (CW) output, an electromagnetic wave of constant amplitude and frequency; and in mathematical analysis, of infinite duration. It has power that can reach megawatt levels, or equal to a million (106) watts. Common examples of chemical lasers are: the chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL), an infrared chemical laser; all gas-phase iodine laser (AGIL), a chemical laser using gaseous iodine as a lasing medium; and the hydrogen fluoride laser, or deuterium fluoride laser, both operating in the mid-infrared region. Infrared (IR) light is an electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelength than those of visible light, extending from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum at 0.74 micrometers (µm) to 300 µm.There is also a DF-CO2 laser (deuterium fluoride-carbon dioxide), which, like COIL, is a “transfer laser.” The hydrogen fluoride (GF) and deuterium fluoride (DF) lasers are unusual in that there are several molecular energy transitions with sufficient energy to be above the threshold required for lasing. Since the molecules do not collide frequently, enough to re-distribute the energy, several of these laser modes will operate either simultaneously, or in extremely rapid succession so that an HF or DF appears to be operating simultaneously on several wavelengths unless a wavelength selection device is incorporated into the resonator.

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