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A nuclear pumped laser is a laser pumped with the energy of fission fragments. The lasing medium is enclosed in a tube lined with uranium-235 and subjected to high neutron flux in a nuclear reactor core. The fission fragments of the uranium create excited plasma with inverse population of energy levels, which then lases. Other methods, e.g. the He-Ar laser, can use the He(n,p)H reaction, the transmutation of helium-3 in a neutron flux, as the energy source, or employing the energy of the alpha particles.
This technology may achieve high excitation rates with small laser volumes.
Some example lasing media:
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