Remote air lasing for trace detection

Arthur Dogariu, James B. Michael, Richard B. Miles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


We demonstrate coherent light propagating backwards from a remotely generated high gain air laser. A short ultraviolet laser pulse tuned to a two-photon atomic oxygen electronic resonance at 226 nm simultaneously dissociates the oxygen molecules in air and excites the resulting atomic oxygen fragments. Due to the focal depth of the pumping laser, a millimeter long region of high gain is created in air for the atomic oxygen stimulated emission at 845nm. We demonstrate that the gain in excess of 60 cm-1 is responsible for both forward and backwards emission of a strong, collimated, coherent laser beam. We present evidence for coherent emission and characterize the backscattered laser beam while varying the pumping conditions. The optical gain and directional emission allows for six orders of magnitude enhancement for the backscattered emission when compared with the fluorescence emission collected into the same solid angle. This opens new opportunities for the remote detection capabilities of trace species, and provides much greater range for the detection of optical molecular and atomic features from a distant target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvanced Environmental, Chemical, and Biological Sensing Technologies VIII
StatePublished - 2011
EventAdvanced Environmental, Chemical, and Biological Sensing Technologies VIII - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Apr 25 2011Apr 26 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherAdvanced Environmental, Chemical, and Biological Sensing Technologies VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Remote detection
  • Stimulated emission
  • Two-photon fluorescence


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