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glossary

Laser: acronym of : « light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation » ; device emitting spatially and temporally coherent light radiation based on the stimulated emission

Waist: position along the propagation axis where a laser beam has the smallest size

Wavelength ( of a light wave ): distance between two consecutive identical states of the electric ( or magnetic ) field

Rayleigh range: for gaussian or embedded gaussian beams, distance in the propagation direction from the waist to a position where the beam radius is increased by a factor of square root of 2

Divergence: defines the maximum angle between the light rays of a beam

Wavefront radius: radius of curvature of the wavefront of a spherical wave

Elliptical beam: a beam in which « equi-intensity » curves in a plane perpendicular to the propagation axis are elliptical