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Field Guide to Laser Pulse Generation

RP Photonics has published the “SPIE Field Guide to Laser Pulse Generation”. This handy book (spiral bound, 132 pages) provides the essential information on laser pulse generation, including Q switching, gain switching, mode locking, and the amplification of ultrashort pulses to high energies. Pulse characterization is also covered, along with the physical aspects and various technical limitations. This Guide, which also contains an extensive bibliography, is designed for industry practitioners, researchers, users of pulsed and ultrafast laser systems, and anyone wanting to learn more about the potential of different pulse generation methods.

This Field Guide can be purchased on the SPIE website and is also available in the SPIE Digital Library.

SPIE Field Guide to Laser Pulse Generation


  • introduction to optical pulses
  • Q switching
  • gain switching
  • mode locking
  • amplification of ultrashort pulses
  • pulse characterization

You can order this Field Guide on the SPIE website. You will also find it at the SPIE booth during various conferences and exhibitions.


The following error has been found on page 16: in the formula for the pulse buildup time, the ln function should belong only to the numerator, not to the whole fraction. The same equation occurs in the equation summary on page 103.