A nitrogen laser is a gas laser operating in the ultraviolet range (typically 337.1 nm) using molecular nitrogen as its gain medium, pumped by an electrical discharge.
The wall-plug efficiency of the nitrogen laser is low, typically 0.1% or less, though nitrogen lasers with efficiency of up to 3% have been reported in the literature. The wall-plug efficiency is the product of the following three efficiencies:
- electrical: TEA laser
- gain medium: This is the same for all nitrogen lasers and thus has to be at least 3%
- inversion by electron impact is 10 to 1 due to Franck-Condon principle
- energy lost in the lower laser level: 40%
- optical: More induced emission than spontaneous emission
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