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Gaussian Pulses

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Definition: pulses with a temporal intensity profile which has a Gaussian shape

German: gaußförmige Pulse

Category: light pulses

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

Ultrashort pulses from mode-locked lasers, for example, often have a temporal shape which can be approximately described with a Gaussian function:

intensity profile of a Gaussian pulse

where τ is the full width at half-maximum (FWHM) pulse duration.

In many cases, Gaussian pulses have no chirp, i.e., are transform-limited. In that case, the spectral width (optical bandwidth) is

spectral width of Gaussian pulse

which means that the time–bandwidth product is ≈ 0.44.

Calculator for Gaussian Pulses

Center wavelength:
Duration: calc
Bandwidth: calc

After you have modified some values, click a "calc" button to recalculate the field left of it.

Compared with a sech2-shaped pulse, a Gaussian pulse with the same width at half-maximum has somewhat weaker wings:

comparison of Gaussian and sech-shaped pulses

Figure 1: Temporal shapes of Gaussian and sech2 pulses.

The peak power of a Gaussian pulse is ≈ 0.94 times the pulse energy divided by the FWHM pulse duration.

The Gaussian pulse shape is typical for pulses from actively mode-locked lasers; it results e.g. from the Haus master equation in simple cases. However, it is also found in various other situations.

See also: pulses, sech2-shaped pulses, transform limit

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A Quiz Question

taken from the Photonics Quiz:

Which of the following statements concerning frequency doubling of ultrashort pulses are correct?

(a) Shorter pump pulses can lead to a higher conversion efficiency.

(b) Shorter pump pulses can lead to a lower conversion efficiency.

(c) Crystal damage is more likely to be a problem for shorter pulses.

(d) For efficient conversion, one needs to check both group velocity mismatch and the phase-matching bandwidth.

(e) The phase-matching bandwidth is irrelevant as long as the pulses are not chirped, so that their instantaneous frequency is constant.

After selecting your answer(s) and pressing this button, find the explanations on the left side.

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