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Samples in the composition series La1−xSrxCoO3 with x=0–0.8 were synthesized, and their crystal structures, conductivities and catalytic activities were studied. When x<0.6, they have a rhombohedrally distorted perovskite structure. When x=0.3–0.5, their conductivities at room temperature are of the order of 103S m−1. When the temperature is higher than 250°C, the catalytic activities of La1−xSrxCoO3 were very high which reaches a maximum for the sample at x=0.3. Cylindrical samples were made from La1−xSrxCoO3x=0.3 and used as a cathode in sealed CO2 lasers. Compared to the traditional Ag–Cu alloy cathode, the performance of La0.7Sr0.3CoO3 is better. The maximum output of a 1.0 m length laser tube using the new cathode is 53.1 Wm−1.