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Glossary Of Laser Terminology

abcd matrix
    A 2-by-2 matrix describing the effect of an optical element on a laser beam
absorption coefficient factor
    Describes light`s ability to be absorbed per unit of path length.
absorption of radiation
    - receiving electromagnetic radiation by interaction with the material, and transforming it to different form, which is usually heat (rise in temperature). the absorption process is dependent on t...
acceptance angle in fiber optics
    The maximum incidence angle of a light ray which can be used for injecting light into a fiber core or waveguide
accessible emission
    The magnitude of accessible laser (or other collateral) radiation of a specific wavelength or emission duration at a particular point as measured by appropriate methods and devices. also means rad...
accessible emission limit
    The maximum accessible emission level limit (ael) permitted within a particular class. ael is determined as the product of accessible emission times the maximum permissible exposure (mpe) using th...
accessible radiation
    Laser radiation that can expose human eye or skin in normal usage.
achromatic optics
    Optical devices or setups with minimized chromatic aberrations
acousto-optic modulators
    Optical modulators based on the acousto-optic effect
active medium
    Collection of atoms or molecules which can be stimulated to a population inversion, and emit electromagnetic radiation in a stimulated emission.
active mode locking
    A technique of mode locking, based on active modulation of the intracavity losses or the round-trip phase change
adaptive optics
    Recent advances in deformable mirror technology and laser guide stars allows most of the distortion produced by the atmosphere to be removed. this results in near diffraction-limited performance o...
additive-pulse mode locking
    A technique for mode locking a laser, using a nonlinear interaction in an external resonator
adiabatic soliton compression
    A pulse compression technique based on the adaptation of solitons to slowly varying propagation parameters
    Literally, "without a focal length"; an optical system with its object and image point at infinity.
aiming beam
    A laser (or other light source) used as a guide light. used coaxially with infrared or other invisible light, may also be a reduced level of the actual laser used for surgery or for other applicat...
alexandrite lasers
    Solid-state lasers based on alexandrite (cr3+:beal2o4) crystals
alignment sensitivity
    The sensitivity of a laser, an optical resonator or some other device with respect to misalignment
all-solid-state lasers
    Laser systems containing solid-state devices only, in particular no discharge lamps or gas or dye lasers
amplified spontaneous emission
    A process where spontaneously emitted radiation (luminescence) is amplified
amplifier chains
    Amplifiers consisting of several stages
amplifier noise
    Noise introduced to a signal in an amplifier device
    Devices for amplifying the power of light beams
amplitude-squeezed light
    Light with an intensity noise below the shot noise level
anamorphic prism pairs
    Prisms pairs for reshaping laser beams
  1. A unit of measure of wavelength equal to 10-10 meter, 0.1 nanometer, or 10-4 micrometer; no longer widely used nor recognized in the si system of units.

  2. Unit to define wavelength of...
anti-reflection coatings
    Optical thin-film coatings for reducing reflections from surfaces
apd avalanche photodetector
    The solid-state equivalent of a pmt, usually restricted to operation in the red, near-infrared and infrared part of the spectrum. for photon-counting applications, they are operated in the so-call...
apparent visual angle
    The angular subtense of the source as calculated from the source size and distance from the eye. it is not the beam divergence of the source.
ar coatings
    Antireflection coatings are used on optical components to suppress unwanted reflections.
argon ion lasers
    Gas lasers based on light amplification in ionized argon in a gas discharge
argon laser
  1. A gas laser in which argon ions are the active medium. this laser emits in the blue - green visible spectrum, primarily at 488 and 515 nm..

  2. A laser used in sealing blood vessels and...
arrayed waveguide gratings
    Optical filter or multiplexer devices based on arrays of waveguides
articulated arm
    Co2 laser beam delivery device consisting of a series of hollow tubes and mirrors interconnected in such a manner as to maintain alignment of the laser beam along the path of the arm.
    Devices for measuring the intensity or field autocorrelation function of light, mostly used for determining the duration of ultrashort pulses
avalanche photodiodes
    Photodiodes with internal signal amplification through an avalanche process
average power
  1. The total energy imparted during exposure divided by the exposure duration.

  2. The average level of power in a signal that varies with time.
aversion response
    Movement of the eyelid or the head to avoid an exposure to a noxious stimulant, such as bright light. it can occur within 0.25 seconds and it includes the blink reflex time. aversion response acti...
axial-flow laser
    A laser in which an axial flow of gas is maintained through the tube to replace those gas molecules depleted by the electrical discharge used to excite the gas molecules to the lasing.
axicon lens
    A conical lens which, when followed by a conventional lens, can focus laser light to a ring shape.
axis/optical axis
    The optical centerline for a lens system; the line passing through the center of curvature of the optical surfaces of a lens.
b integral
    A measure of the nonlinear phase shift of light, e.g. in an amplifier
bandwidth-limited pulses
    Pulses with a duration as short as possible with their optical spectrum
beam bender
    A hardware assembly containing an optical device, such as a mirror, capable of changing the direction of a laser beam; used to re-point the beam and used in "folded", compact laser syste...
beam combining
    A class of techniques for power scaling of laser sources by combining the outputs of multiple devices
beam diameter
    The distance between diametrically opposed points in the cross section of a circular beam where the intensity is reduced by a factor of 1/e (0.368) of the peak level (for safety standards). the va...
beam divergence
  1. Angle of beam spread measured in radians or milliradians (1 milliradian = 3.4 minutes-of-arc or approximately 1 mil). for small angles where the cord is approximately equal to the arc, the bea...
beam expander
    An optical device that increases beam diameter while decreasing beam divergence (spread). in its simplest form, consists of two lenses, the first to diverge the beam and the second to re-collimate...
beam parameter product
    Product of the beam radius in a focus and the far-field beam divergence