To explore the laser kinetics of atomic xenon lasers pumped by an ultraviolet-preionized, self-sustained discharge, time-resolved small-signal gains are measured using a long-pulse probe laser. Faster electron mixing processes among excited xenon manifolds in the 6p state may affect the small-signal gain distribution among 1.73, 2.03, and 2.65 μm laser lines, which share the same upper laser level Xe(5d[3/2]1) at excitation rates in excess of 160 kW/cm3. When the excitation rate in a late part of the discharge is increased, absorption caused by repumping of the lower laser level is observed at 1.73 μm. The measured gains are discussed in conjunction with multiline laser oscillation performance obtained by the same laser device.
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