Heavy-water-based solutions of rhodamine dyes: photophysical properties and laser operation
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Photophysical properties of heavy-water-based rhodamine dye solutions have been investigated, with a view to assess the suitability of heavy water as a solvent for high-power, high-repetition-rate dye lasers and amplifiers. We have measured the quantum yield of fluorescence of the commonly used dyes rhodamine-6G, rhodamine-B and kiton-red, dissolved in heavy water, ethanol and normal water. The performance of a heavy-water-based pulsed rhodamine-6G dye laser has been investigated in broadband, as well as in narrowband wavelength-tunable resonator configurations, yielding laser efficiencies comparable to those achieved with ethanolic solutions of the same dye. We have also studied the thermo-optic properties of normal and heavy water, using the Z-scan technique. Finally, photodegradation rates for laser dyes have been compared in heavy water, normal water and ethanol. Our results establish heavy water as a solvent superior to both ethanol and normal water, on account of the lower thermo-optic effects and the higher photostability of rhodamine dyes when dissolved in heavy water.
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