Pumping source: A helical flash lamp filled with xenon is used as a pumping source. The ruby crystal is placed inside a xenon flash lamp. Thus, optical pumping is used to achieve population inversion in ruby laser.
Ruby is a three level laser system. Suppose there are three levels E1, E2 and (E3 & E4). E1 is the ground level, E2 is the metastable level, E3 and E4 are the bands. E3 & E4 are considered as only one level because they are very closed to each other.
The ruby crystal is placed inside a xenon flash lamp and the flash lamp is connected to a capacitor which discharges a few thousand joules of energy in a few milliseconds. A part of this energy is absorbed by chromium ions in the ground state. Thus optical pumping raises the chromium ions to energy levels inside the bands E3 and E4. This process is called stimulated absorption. The transition to bands E3 and E4 are caused by absorption of radiations corresponding to wavelengths approximately 6600 angstroms and 4000 angstroms respectively. The levels inside the bands E3 and E4 are also known as pumping levels.
Reference: This article is referred from my authored book “optics and lasers” having ISBN 81-272-2948-2. In case of any doubt, post in the comment section.