The temperature dependence of the damping coefficient of a surface electromagnetic wave on nickel has been experimentally determined. The surface wave was excited by the radiation of a CO<sub>2</sub> laser on a diffraction grating mechanically ruled on the surface of the sample. The thermal damping coefficient of the wave is obtained in the temperature range of interest. The data of these measurements are used to compute the temperature coefficient of the absorbance of nickel. The angular radiation distribution was measured in a bulk near-surface wave whose excitation was observed at the same time as the surface wave. It is shown that the excitation of the near-surface wave is associated with the divergence of the laser radiation, while the supplementary maxima in the distribution are associated with the finite width of the grating.
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