The dye laser is an optically pumped laser, with an organic dye in a liquid solvent as the lasing medium. It consists of a dye lasing chamber with a normal mirror in one end and a semitransparent in the other. Since it is an optically pumped laser it has an external lightsource (usually a xenon tube or an air flash tube). When the flash tube is triggered, the photons will fly through the liquid and stimulate the dye to emit photons . Some of these will be reflected by the mirrors, and move back through the chamber. This stimulates further emissions. The light will eventually leave the chamber through the semitransparent mirror as the beam.
Simple buildup diagram of a dye laser:


   From dye                Flow-back
   circulation                to
    pump                 liquid storage

      |||                    |^|
Mirror|v|     Reflector      |||
      | | ================== | |
  |.--' `--------------------' `----.|   Beam
  ||         laser chamber          |::::::::::::::::::
  ||                                |::::::::::::::::::
  |`--------------------------------'|
                                      Semitransparent
        .---------------------.           mirror
       -|   Xenon tube        |-
        `---------------------'

The dye is rapidly broken down from the lasing proccess, so a circulation system is used to prolong the possible lasing time. This system, pumps in new liquid from an external storage tank.

Due to the need for replenishment of the dye liquid and the need for an external tank this laser type is rather impractical, compared with the Laser diode, the HeNe-laser and the Ion laser, and is only used in experiments. Most of the organic dyes used in this laser type are toxic. One advantage with this laser is that by changing the dye used, you can get most light frequencies.

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