Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Nancy C. Giles, PhD.


We examine the quantum mechanics of optically active ions in crystals. Insight is developed which qualitatively explains the shape of the optical absorption and emission spectra of Fe2+ ions in II-VI materials. In addition to a discussion of the relevant theory, this work explores experimental techniques for absorption spectroscopy, laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy, and upper-state lifetime measurements in detail. The data collected from these experiments are interpreted in the context of the theories developed herein. The theory and data are used to develop a simple model of the temperature dependence of the upper-state lifetime of Fe2+ ions in ZnSe. We report the demonstration of high-power continuous wave (CW) laser oscillation from Fe2+ ions in zinc selenide in detail. Broadband wavelength tuning of an Fe:ZnSe laser is demonstrated using spectrally selective intracavity optics. Additionally, several resonator configurations were briefly tested with the significant result that > 1 W power was achieved near 4100 nm.

We report the use of pulsewidth modulation techniques to deliver short, high-peak-power pulses from an Fe:ZnSe laser. The first passively Q-switched Fe:ZnSe laser was successfully demonstrated with average power > 600 mW and with pulse widths < 60 ns. Additionally, the first modelocked Fe:ZnSe laser was successfully demonstrated with average power of ~200 mW.

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