Optical Gaussian beam interaction with a one-dimensional temperature field in the form of a thermal wave in the Raman–Nath configuration is analyzed. For the description of the Gaussian beam propagation through the nonstationary temperature field the complex geometric optics method was used. The influence of the refractive coefficient modulation by thermal wave on the complex ray phase, path, and amplitude was taken into account. It was assumed that for detection of the modulated Gaussian beam parameters two types of detector can be used: quadrant photodiodes or centroidal photodiodes. The influence of such parameters as the size and position of the Gaussian beam waist, the laser–screen (detector) distance, the thermal wave beam position and width, as well as thermal wave frequency and the distance between the probing optical beam axis and source of thermal waves on the so-called normal signal was taken into account.
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