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Title:Electric oxygen-iodine laser discharge scaling and laser performance
Author(s):Woodard, Brian
Director of Research:Solomon, Wayne C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Solomon, Wayne C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Burton, Rodney L.; Elliott, Gregory S.; Coleman, James J.; Verdeyen, Joseph T.
Department / Program:Aerospace Engineering
Discipline:Aerospace Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):electric discharge oxygen-iodine laser (ElectricOIL)
Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser(EOIL)
Discharge Oxygen-Iodine Laser (DOIL)
singlet delta oxygen
Abstract:In 2004, a research partnership between the University of Illinois and CU Aerospace demonstrated the first electric discharge pumped oxygen-iodine laser referred to as ElectricOIL. This exciting improvement over the standard oxygen-iodine laser utilizes a gas discharge to produce the necessary electronically-excited molecular oxygen, O2(a1), that serves as the energy reservoir in the laser system. Pumped by a near-resonant energy transfer, the atomic iodine lases on the I(2P1/2) → I(2P3/2) transition at 1315 nm. Molecular oxygen diluted with helium and a small fraction of nitric oxide flows through a radio-frequency discharge where O2(a1) and many other excited species are created. Careful investigations to understand the benefits and problems associated with these other states in the laser system allowed this team to succeed where other research groups had failed, and after the initial demonstration, the ElectricOIL research focus shifted to increasing the efficiencies along with the output laser energy. Among other factors, the laser power scales with the flow rate of oxygen in the desired excited state. Therefore, high yields of O2(a1) are desired along with high input oxygen flow rates. In the early ElectricOIL experiments, the pressure in the discharge was approximately 10 Torr, but increased flow rates forced the pressure to between 50 and 60 Torr requiring a number of new discharge designs in order to produce similar yields of O2(a1) efficiently. Experiments were conducted with only the electric discharge portion of the laser system using emission diagnostics to study the effects of changing the discharge geometry, flow residence time, and diluent. The power carried by O2(a1) is the maximum power that could be extracted from the laser, and the results from these studies showed approximately 2500 W stored in the O2(a1) state. Transferring this energy into the atomic iodine has been another challenge in ElectricOIL as experiments have shown that the iodine is pumped into the excited state slower than is predicted by the known kinetics, resulting in reduced output power. An elementary model is presented that may partially explain this problem. Larger laser resonator volumes are employed to improve power extraction by providing more flow time for iodine pumping. The results presented in this work in conjunction with the efforts of others led to ElectricOIL scaling from 200 mW in the initial demonstration to nearly 500 W.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Brian Woodard
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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