I would like to ask if anyone can suggest me a good tutorial about Scattering and transmission matrices for lasers. I am really struggling with some issues and the majority of the literature analyses them from the microwave perspective. To be honest I find it very difficult to understand even the very basics, like how do we derive the transmission and reflection coefficients and where do all these things find application.

  • \$\begingroup\$ We could probably attempt sources all day, or you could ask about specific cases where you are having issues and we could attempt to answer those questions here. As a side note, this professor has a number of videos on lasers, along with other subjects. Try just skipping by all of the other material and looking at some of the material he has for optics and lasers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Apr 7, 2012 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Scattering parameters ("s-parameters") are inherently a microwave/rf way of looking at things. If you don't understand s-parameters, then it won't help you to use them to understand lasers. Can you be more specific on what you want help with? Are you trying to learn more about lasers, or are you trying to learn more about s-parameters? \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Apr 8, 2012 at 3:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the material where it is supposed that i should understand the Fabry-Perot etalon,is expressed as a three scattering networks cascaded,two dielectric interfaces and one transmission line.However,i am trying to understand the main concept of this things and as you said above the majority of the literature i have read until now is on microwaves making it more complicated.I already know that i could attempt sources all day,and thats why i am asking for something that could simplify that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rizias
    Apr 8, 2012 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would be very much interested in how you appeared at these matrices studying lasers. After studying this field for about 10 years now, I have never stumbled over them until today. \$\endgroup\$
    – texnic
    Oct 5, 2012 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


Apparently, these matrices are difficult to measure in the optical domain, that's why there is not much information on them, especially very little easy-to-understand references. However I have found one paper, which is short and very practical and therefore easy to read: Measuring the Transmission Matrix in Optics: An Approach to the Study and Control of Light Propagation in Disordered Media, PRL 104, 100601 (2010).

UPDATE: And a nice, though a bit longer, paper on scattering matrices in lasers: Scattering matrix analysis of a triangular ring laser, JLT 12, 202 (1994).

The following is apparently the first use of the scattering matrix for lasers: Studies of semiconductor lasers of the interferometric and ring types, IEEE JQE 18, 610 (1982).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the poster is asking about basic ray matrix approach to optics, but I could be incorrect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 5, 2012 at 9:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: AFAIK there are no scattering matrices in matrix optics. Besides, the OP mentions MW physics, and that's where the scattering and transmission matrices mentioned in my answer are used. \$\endgroup\$
    – texnic
    Oct 5, 2012 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ How did I miss the scattering part, I may never know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 5, 2012 at 14:55

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