It is more difficult to make an effective long-life sealed-off CO2 waveguide laser (100-300 Torr) than a traditional low-pressure (10-30 Torr) dc-excited laser,1 because there are 1 or 2 orders of magnitude fewer particles in a typical waveguide device, and the times of diffusion are up to 1 order of magnitude shorter despite the higher pressure because of the much smaller distances involved. The effects of cathode material sputtering, gas cleanup at the electrodes, formation of gaseous complexes, and transport of cathode material into the waveguide bore and onto optical surfaces may all be expected to be accentuated. It has been claimed as a major advantage of rf rather than de excitation that it is not necessary to have electrodes in contact with the active gas constituents.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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