Abstract

The propagation characteristics of a beam diffracted by a circular aperture are investigated. The beam-quality factor M 2 defined by an 86.5% power-content radius is given theoretically and experimentally as a function of the truncation ratio. It is found that the theoretical limit of M 2 is 2.37 times as great as that of an incident beam as the truncation ratio approaches 0. For a weakly diffracted beam a simple formula giving M 2 is derived. Although M 2 does not increase much with diffraction, the influence of diffraction should be taken into account in beam brightness.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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