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Output characteristics of an optically pumped tantalum vapor laser and the distribution of tantalum vapor generated by irradiation of a laser have been investigated experimentally. Ta vapor is generated by irradiation of a pulsed YAG laser and then the Ta atoms are optically pumped by a KrF excimer laser. It is observed that the maximum output energy is 160 nJ, the maximum optical conversion efficiency is 0.01%, and the ground‐state Ta atoms are distributed not only in the luminous space of the vapor but also around it.