Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

David E. Weeks, PhD.


Simulations of an argon-helium plasma are performed for two high pressure discharge scenarios to find a uniform, large-volume plasma with Ar(1s5) metastable densities on the order of 1013 cm-3 for use as the ground state in an optically pumped rare gas laser. An analysis of a pulsed direct current discharge is performed for a 7% argon in helium mixture at a pressure of 270 Torr using both zero and one-dimensional models. Kinetics of species relevant to the operation of an optically pumped rare gas laser are analyzed throughout the pulse duration to identify key reaction pathways. Simulations are extended to an α-mode radio frequency dielectric barrier discharge with varying mixtures of argon and helium at pressures ranging from 200-500 Torr. Metastable densities are analyzed as a function of argon fraction and pressure to determine the optimal conditions maximizing metastable density. Finally, optically pumped rare gas laser performance is analyzed as a function of the Ar(2p)+M → Ar(1s)+M branching ratio. A sensitivity study is performed due to the uncertainty in the branching ratio.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Plain text title: Analysis of Ar(1s5) Metastable Populations in High Pressure Argon-Helium Gas Discharges