Propagation of Laser Beams in Linear Media

The Gaussian, Bessel, and Bessel-Gauss Approaches
  • Giovanni GiusfrediEmail author
Part of the UNITEXT for Physics book series (UNITEXTPH)


If the medium is homogeneous, linear, isotropic, and non-dispersive, any electromagnetic wave can, in principle, be decomposed into plane waves, which are a simple and effective basis for complex wave equation solutions (1.4.12). But, in real cases, we have to deal with electromagnetic beams of limited size, and the decomposition in plane waves is not always the most appropriate. Consider, for example, the case of a monochromatic, and therefore continuous (CW, that is, continuous wave, single-frequency) laser beam; at every point in the space, its electric field oscillates sinusoidally over time. The spatial trend in this field is not equally simple: at first sight, a collimated laser beam is a genuinely good representation of a pencil of parallel geometric rays between them, but, with more careful observation, we find that the beam tends to expand due to the diffraction.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS)Istituto Nazionale di Ottica—Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (INO-CNR)Sesto FiorentinoItaly

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