By Coherent, Inc.
Spatial intensity distribution is one of the fundamental parameters that indicate how a laser beam will behave in an application. For example, in a materials processing situation, it is easily understandable why two beams of identical power and diameter leave different burn marks on a substrate if one beam features a Gaussian or near-Gaussian profile (maximum intensity in the beam center), while the other beam features a so-called donut profile (very little power in the beam center).
Theory can sometimes predict the behavior of a beam, but manufacturing tolerances in lenses and mirrors, as well as ambient conditions affecting the laser cavity, necessitate verification. Consequently, it is crucial for researchers, system designers, and laser manufacturers to be able to verify spatial intensity distribution (intensity profile).
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