A Quantitative Theory of Noble Gas Ion Laser Discharge: Formulation.
A quantitative theory is proposed for calculation of the state of the plasma and various electronic excitation rates in high-current, low-pressure discharges typical of noble gas ion laser operation under quasi-steady state, constant-pressure or constant-density conditions. At present, only well-confined discharges in the absence of any externally applied magnetic fields are considered. For simplicity, multiple ionization is also neglected. The discharge is formulated as a three-temperature plasma problem with significant axial electron drift. It is found that the natural similarity parameters in such a discharge are PR (the product of the total filling gas pressure p and the discharge tube radius R), and jR (the product of current density j and the tube radius). 54 pp. Ref. (Author)