Abstract

We derive an expression for the lower bound of the phase-space beam quality factor M2 of an ultrashort pulse. We show that the condition M21 does not, in general, hold for such pulsed beams. Rather, the minimum value of M2 depends on the pulse spectrum. We also show that M2 attains minimum only for pulsed beams whose spot size varies with frequency as ω12, and that the radial intensity profile of the best-quality pulsed beam can be non-Gaussian.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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