Optical EngineeringOptical distortion coefficients of high-power laser windows
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This paper concerns the problem of describing and evaluating thermal lensing phenomena that occur as a result of the absorption of laser light in solid windows. The aberration function expansion method is applied for deriving the two optical distortion coefficients χ+ and χ- that characterize the degradation in light intensity at the Gaussian focus of an initially diffraction-limited laser beam passing through a weakly absorbing stress-birefringent window. In a pulsed mode of operation, the concept of an effective optical distortion coefficient χeff, which properly combines the coefficients χ+ and χ- in terms of potential impact on focal irradiances, then leads to the definition of a figure of merit for distortion. The theory and calculations presented in this and earlier papers provide simple analytical tools for predicting the optical performance of a window-material candidate in a specific system's environment.