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Gaussian Pulses

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

German: gaußförmige Pulse

Category: light pulses

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Ultrashort pulses from mode-locked lasers, for example, often have a temporal shape (i.e., shape of the curve showing optical power versus time) 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

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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
and other articles in the category light pulses

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