Quantifying The Quality Of A Laser Beam With The Beam Parameter Product And The M2 Factor
Source: Gentec Electro-Optics, Inc.
All laser beams diverge. Their rays slowly spread out as they travel, diluting the laser’s power. This happens because of diffraction, a fundamental – and unavoidable – property of light.
We cannot completely eliminate divergence. The best we can hope for is a beam with the smallest divergence allowed by the laws of diffraction. Such a beam is said to be diffraction-limited. Beams with a Gaussian beam profile are diffraction-limited. Beam quality quantifies how close a laser is to this ideal diffraction-limited Gaussian beam.
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