First Advisor

George A. Tsongas

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Science


Applied Science




Carbon dioxide lasers, Solar radiation, Outer space



Physical Description

1 online resource (69 p.)


The possibility of using sunlight to pump a CW carbon dioxide laser has been analyzed. Such a laser could be of interest for such applications as space communication and power transmission. In order to optically pump CO2 using sunlight, the intense vibrational-rotational absorption bands of CO2 in the 4.3 micron spectral region would have to be utilized. The total pumping power from sunlight can be calculated from the known data of the solar spectral irradiance outside the atmosphere and the infrared absorption by carbon dioxide at 4.3 microns. The pumping power is proportional to the collector area of the sunlight and is also dependent on the characteristics of the absorbing gas mixture, such as the gas composition, the gas temperature, the total pressure of the mixture, the partial pressure of CO2, and the absorption path length of the sunlight in the gas.

To analyze the carbon dioxide laser system, a thermodynamic approach was used with a simplified CO2 chemical kinetic model. The gain and saturation intensity were obtained by solving a set of energy balance equations which describe the processes among the various vibrational modes. From those results, along with the estimated cavity losses, the output power was found.


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