Four Level Pumping in Laser


In four-level pumping, atoms of ground energy state go to upper energy state$(E_{4})$ by pumping transition to achieve the population inversion. Due to the short time of the upper energy state atoms go to metastable state by nonradiative transitions or spontaneous emission. Atoms of metastable state come to lower lasing level by laser transition process. The atoms come from lower lasing level to ground state by nonradiative transition or spontaneous emission. This process is repeated continuously.

Four level pumping in Laser
Four-level pumping in Laser

In contrast to level pumping, the lower lasing transition level in the four-level scheme is not the ground state and is virtually vacant. As soon as some atoms are pumped to the upper lasing level, population inversion is achieved. So it is required less pumping energy than a three-level laser system. this is the major disadvantage of this scheme. Further, the lifetime of the lower lasing level is shorter as it is not a metastable state. Hence atom in level $E_{2}$ quickly drops to the ground state. This depletion of the $E_{2}$ energy level helps sustain the population inversion by avoiding and accumulation of atoms in the lower lasing level. Therefore four-level laser system can operate in a continuous wave mode.