A theoretical model of a gas laser consists of a set of equations for the number densities, or energy densities, of the relevant excited states of the constituent gases of the laser, together with equations for the gas temperature and the intensity of the radiation within the laser cavity. The process by which energy is transferred between excited molecular states is called relaxation. In this chapter we shall study relaxation phenomena as a prerequisite to the formulation of laser models discussed in Chapter 2.
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