Ophir Photonics Blog
Laser Beam Profilers

What’s M-Squared and Why Should I Care?

Here’s a surprising statistic: Nine out of ten laser technicians have no idea what M2 is.

Most laser beam characteristics are easy to put your finger on.  Qualities like laser beam width, position and divergence angle are generally known to those that work with lasers – and if not, can be learned quickly.  M2 is a little more obscure and abstract.  What part of the laser beam can I point to and say, “Aha! See that? That’s the M2 in action.”?  That’s why I’d like to provide you with this short refresher on M2 – what it is, why it’s actually quite important to the laser operating quality and how you can measure it.

Wondering where I got the fun fact from?  I made it up, of course.  But seriously, how many people do you think know what it is?  I mean it.  Let me know; I’d love to hear what you think!

This article was rewritten on September 10, 2012.  We have been going over our old posts to make sure they stay accurate and relevant.  Any feedback is welcome, as always.

You might also like to read: 

Is Your Laser’s Beam Profile Shaped Correctly for Your Application?

Driving Blind: Why the Need for Industrial Laser Beam Profiling?



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