Abstract

We have reexamined the propagation of a Gaussian beam through a saturable material and derived an expression that exhibits a departure from Beer’s law. The results cannot be represented by a generalization of Beer’s law in which the absorption coefficient is intensity dependent. We have measured the absorption of the 3.39μm He–Ne line in methane and found that some of the discrepancies in the literature can be attributed to the neglect of saturation. Theoretical and experimental results are in quantitative agreement.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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