A tunable pulsed narrow bandwidth light source and a method of operating a light source are provided. The light source includes a pump laser, first and second non-linear optical crystals, a tunable filter, and light pulse directing optics. The method includes the steps of operating the pump laser to generate a pulsed pump beam characterized by a nanosecond pulse duration and arranging the light pulse directing optics so as to (i) split the pulsed pump beam into primary and secondary pump beams; (ii) direct the primary pump beam through an input face of the first non-linear optical crystal such that a primary output beam exits from an output face of the first non-linear optical crystal; (iii) direct the primary output beam through the tunable filter to generate a sculpted seed beam; and direct the sculpted seed beam and the secondary pump beam through an input face of the second non-linear optical crystal such that a secondary output beam characterized by at least one spectral bandwidth on the order of about 0.1 cm.sup.-1 and below exits from an output face of the second non-linear optical crystal.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL-85000 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.