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Externally sustained discharges can be used as opening and closing switches in pulsed power systems. Admixtures of attachers allow rapid opening when the external sustaining source is terminated; however, they will increase losses in the closing phase. Photodetachment has been proposed as an additional control mechanism to overcome these losses. This letter presents measurements on photoionization sustained discharges in argon and nitrogen containing admixtures of oxygen under the influence of laser radiation. Strong changes of the voltage-current characteristics have been observed. The influence of parameters such as percentage of O2, laser power, laser pulse width, and circuit impedance is presented. Additionally, it is shown that photodetachment can enhance the stability of diffuse discharges.