Letter | Published:

Spectra of Giant Pulses from a Ruby Laser

Naturevolume 199pages12811282 (1963) | Download Citation



THE spectral character of the giant pulse1 emitted by a ruby laser has been investigated to determine the suitability of this source for plasma light scattering experiments. A ‘Trion LS-4: laser’ system consisting of a 10 cm × 1.3 cm × 1.3 cm total internal reflexion ruby with 90° c-axis orientation, pumped by means of a 10,000 joule spiral xenon flash-lamp, has been modified to produce giant pulses by the addition of a Kerr cell, a Nicol prism, and a 48 per cent reflectivity dielectric mirror acting as external reflector. Giant pulses which last for less than 40 n sec were produced by switching the Kerr cell with a low inductance thyratron circuit. The Kerr cell was normally gated open for 1 µsec. Throughout the experiment the pumping energy delivered to the flash-lamp was maintained at 6,700±300 joules, which is about 25 per cent above threshold for normal relaxation oscillations in this crystal at the temperature at which it was operated, namely 126±3° K. High-resolution spectroscopy of these pulses was carried out with a variable gap silvered Fabry–Perot interferometer which had a resolving limit of 0.011 cm−1 for 1 cm separation of the mirrors. To ensure that only giant pulse light was recorded, a Barr and Stroud framing camera operated at a speed of 10 µsec per frame was used to photograph the interference fringes on Gaevert infra-red sensitive film (‘Scientia 52A86’).

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    McClung, F. J., and Hellwarth, R. W., Proc. I.E.E.E., 51, 1962 (1963).

  2. 2

    D'Haenens, I. J., and Asawa, C. K., J. App. Phys., 33, 3201 (1962).

  3. 3

    Hughes, T. P., Nature, 195, 325 (1962).

Download references

Author information

Author notes

    • D. J. BRADLEY

    Present address: Physics Department, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London


  1. Culham Laboratory, U.K. Atomic Energy Authority, Abingdon, Berks

    • D. J. BRADLEY
    • , A. W. DESILVA
    • , D. E. EVANS
    •  & M. J. FORREST


  1. Search for D. J. BRADLEY in:

  2. Search for A. W. DESILVA in:

  3. Search for D. E. EVANS in:

  4. Search for M. J. FORREST in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.