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Continuous-wave mirrorless lasing at 2.21 μm in sodium vapors

Abstract

We demonstrate backward-directed continuous-wave (cw) emission at 2.21 μm generated on the 4P3/2-4S1/2 population-inverted transition in Na vapors that are two-photon excited with resonant laser light at 589 and 569 nm. Our study of power and atom-number-density threshold characteristics shows that lasing occurs at sub-10 mW total power of the applied laser light. The observed 6 mrad divergence is defined mainly by the aspect ratio of the gain region. We find that mirrorless lasing at 2.21 μm is magnetic field and polarization dependent and this may be useful for remote magnetometry. The presented results could help determine the requirements for obtaining directional return from sodium atoms in the mesosphere.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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