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Difference between Gaussian and Airy

  1. Mar 12, 2014 #1
    What is the difference between a Gaussian beam profile and an Airy disk? Both seem to be pretty much the same to me. An Airy disk looks like this:


    And a Gaussian beam profile looks like this:

    So they seem more or less the same. What is the difference between the two?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2014 #2


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    You seem to be ignoring the ripples in the Airy pattern. The Gaussian falls away smoothly.

    So the central portion may look the same, but the energy in the "tails" is quite different. This is an important distinction for many distributions, such as Lorentzian, which also has a lot of energy in the tails.

    You should also look up the mathematical descriptions - you can find them, and more plots, on the Wolfram site.
  4. Mar 12, 2014 #3
    "More or less the same" is not the same thing as "the same"
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