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An advanced measurement method for the dynamic current voltage characteristics of fast transversely excited atmosphere excimer laser discharges is presented. In contrast to well-known numerical techniques, inductive components are eliminated from the measured discharge gap voltage directly during operation of the laser by means of a fast video amplifier circuit. Comparison of experimental data obtained from a laboratory KrF* excimer laser with theoretical data shows that the achieved resolution is sufficiently high to reveal actual halogen donor concentration and arcing in the discharge. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.