Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Physics


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Glen P. Perram, PhD.


The Diode Pumped Alkali Laser (DPAL) is a high power, three-level laser system that employs diode bars to optically excite an alkali metal vapor. It lases along the D1 transition, between the two lowest energy levels, 2P1/2 and 2S1/2. Higher lying energy states are produced at higher population density via energy pooling and multiphoton processes. Pulsed laser excitation of rubidium at approximately 1 MW=cm2 has been studied at helium pressure up to 900 Torr. Emissions from energy states as high as 82D suggests modest ionization, though these intensities decrease drastically at buffer gas pressures above 250 Torr. Blue emission from the 62P→52S1/2 transition and red emission from the 52D→52P transition indicate population in these upper states that persists at all helium pressures used in this experiment. A basic kinetic model was created to describe the concentration at these higher lying states. Optical trapping is severe at temperatures above 450 K. Diffusion of the rubidium is very slow, requiring mixing times exceed 45 minutes.

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