Technical Center



Technical Center: Laser Glossary of Terms




The subject matter or figure imaged by, or seen through, an optical system.


The condition of being non-transparent.

Open Installation

Any location where lasers are used which will be open to operating personnel during laser operation and may or may not specifically restrict entry to observers.


The performance of the laser or laser system over the full range of its intended functions (normal operation). It does not include maintenance or services as defined in this glossary.

Optic Disc

The portion of the optic nerve within the eye which is formed by the meeting of all the retinal nerve fibers at the level of the retina.

Optical Cavity (Resonator)

Space between the laser mirrors where lasing action occurs.

Optical Density

A logarithmic expression for the attenuation produced by an attenuating medium, such as an eye protection filter.

Optical Fiber

A filament of quartz or other optical material capable of transmitting light along its length by multiple internal reflection and emitting it at the end.

Optical Pumping

The excitation of the lasing medium by the application of light rather than electrical discharge.

Optical Radiation

Ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation (0.35-1.4 nm) that falls in the region of transmittance of the human eye.

Optical Resonator

(See Resonator.)

Optically Pumped

Lasers A type of laser that derives energy from another light source such as a xenon or krypton flashlamp or other laser source.

Output Coupler

Partially reflective mirror in laser cavity which allows emission of laser light.

Output Power

The energy per second measured in watts emitted from the laser in the form of coherent light.


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