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Lasers, Dye

  1. Francisco J. Duarte,
  2. David R. Foster

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap193.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Duarte, F. J. and Foster, D. R. 2005. Lasers, Dye. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .

Author Information

  1. Eastman Kodak Company, Research Laboratories, Rochester, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Dye lasers are inherently tunable, and powerful, sources of narrow-linewidth radiation. This means that dye lasers can change the emission color continuously while emitting radiation of extremely high spectral purity. In addition, these tunable lasers can be configured to yield extremely short pulses in the femtosecond regime. As such, dye lasers have found a wide variety of applications in fundamental physics, spectroscopy, medicine, and the military. In this article, basic aspects of dye-laser operation are examined and explained. These include a discussion of the excitation process, via classical rate equations, the origin of tunability, and the theory of dispersion that explains the achievement of very narrow laser linewidths. Although most of the article deals with traditional liquid dye lasers, a section is devoted to newly developed solid-state dye lasers. Important applications, such as laser isotope separation and laser cooling are also discussed.


  • lasers;
  • tunable;
  • tunable lasers;
  • dye lasers;
  • solid-state dye lasers;
  • multiple prism;
  • dispersion theory;
  • femtosecond lasers