Production of Non-Equilibrium Atomic Populations by Tunable Laser Excitation

  • T. J. McIlrath
Conference paper


This paper describes the use of tunable lasers to produce distributions of atomic or molecular populations far from thermal equilibrium. The technique makes it possible to study either atomic or molecular spectra characterizing such distributions or relaxation rates between levels. The principle is simply to produce a flux of photons sufficient to ensure that the rate of production of atoms in excited levels by absorption of photons is comparable to the rate of decay out of the excited levels. Such a flux equalizes the populations of the ground and excited levels coupled by the light, and the coupling of levels yields a ratio of populations that is independent of the thermal properties of the gas.


Relaxation Rate Excited Level Tunable Laser Doppler Width Calcium Atom 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. McIlrath
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard College ObservatoryCambridgeUSA

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