The measurement of oscillation losses in solid state lasers has long been used as a method of evaluating the quality of the laser material. Most of these active loss measurements provide a measure of the total cavity loss, from which other losses such as mirror reflectivity losses must be subtracted to give a figure for the internal loss of the laser material. Diffraction losses are also present but the question of their exact contribution to the total cavity loss is frequently ignored. This is because material distortions and filamentary oscillation can make prediction of diffraction loss rather uncertain unless lengthy calculations are made, taking account of the distortions which prevail in each particular laser system
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