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Optically pumped rare gas laser performance is analyzed as a function of the Ar(3p54p; 2p) + M → Ar(3p54s; 1s) + M branching ratios. Due to the uncertainty in the branching ratios, a sensitivity study is performed to determine the effect on output and absorbed pump laser intensities. The analysis is performed using a radio frequency dielectric barrier discharge as the source of metastable production for a variety of Argon in Helium mixtures over pressures ranging from 200 to 500 Torr. Peak output laser intensities show a factor of 7 increase as the branching ratio is increased from 0.25 to 1.00. The collection of Ar* in Ar(1s4) is inversely proportional to the branching ratio and decreases output laser intensity by reducing the density of species directly involved with lasing.


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Optics Express