Radiation Thermodynamics with Applications to Lasing and Fluorescent Cooling
NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS MD DEPT OF PHYSICS
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Laser cooling of bulk matter uses thermally assisted fluorescence to convert heat into light and can be interpreted as an optically pumped laser running in reverse. Optical pumping in such devices drives the level populations out of equilibrium. Nonthermal radiative energy transfers are thereby central to the operation of both lasers and luminescent coolers. A thermodynamic treatment of their limiting efficiencies requires a careful development of the entropy and effective temperatures of radiation, valid for the entire range of light from the blackbody to the ideal laser limiting cases. In particular, the distinct meaning and utility of the brightness and flux temperatures should be borne in mind. Numerical examples help illustrate these concepts at a level suitable for undergraduate physics majors.
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