A new mathematical model, described as hollow Gaussian beams (HGBs), is proposed to describe a dark hollow laser beam (DHB). The area of the dark region across the HGBs can easily be controlled by proper choice of the beam parameters. Based on the Collins integral, an analytical propagation formula for the HGBs through a paraxial optical system is derived. The HGBs also can be expressed as a superposition of a series of Lagurerre–Gaussian modes by use of a polynomial expansion. As a numerical example, the propagation properties of a DHB in free space are illustrated graphically. The HGBs provide a convenient and powerful way to describe and treat the propagation of DHBs and can be used conveniently to analyze atoms manipulated with a DHB.
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