6

Laser Beam Propagation Matrices

6.1 Introduction

A powerful approach to characterize and design laser optics systems is the use of beam propagation matrices also known as ray transfer matrices. This is a practical method that applies to the propagation of laser beams with a Gaussian profile. Since most lasers can be designed to yield beams with Gaussian or near-Gaussian profiles, this is a widely applicable method. Laser beams with Gaussian or near-Gaussian spatial distributions result when the laser emission is single transverse mode or TEM00, as explained in Chapter 7.

From a historical perspective, it should be mentioned that propagation matrices in optics have been known for a while. For early references in the subject, the reader is ...

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