Measurement under real operating conditions
Standardisation according to DIN and ISO provides the formal framework for the reproducible measurement of laser beams according to internationally recognised rules. Around the turn of the millennium, the foundations for this were laid by the CHOCLAB project, among others. PRIMES and others were involved in this project. Results from the project fed into the following standards: 11145, 11146, 11670 and 11554.
Central formulae for beam measurement
Beam parameter product BPP
The beam parameter product is a physical parameter which describes the beam quality, and hence the focusability, of a laser beam.
 Θ   = full beam divergence angle  w_{0}   = radius of the beam waist  d_{F}   = focal diameter  r_{F}  = w_{F}  = focal radius  k  = 1/M^{2}  = beam propagation factor  M^{2}   = diffraction index 

Diffraction index M²
The diffraction index M² is an absolute parameter that characterises a laser beam: the greater M² is, the worse the beam is to focus, i.e., the larger the smallest possible focal diameter is.
diffraction index M² = 1/k
 F  = Fnumber  focal length/ raw beam diameter  λ  = wavelength  d_{F}  = focal diameter 

Rayleigh length z_{R} (colloquial term: depth of focus)
The Rayleigh length is the distance along the optical axis that a laser beam requires until the area of its crosssection doubles, starting from the beam waist.
 z_{R}  = Rayleigh length  λ  = wavelength 

Formulae for pulse applications:
 P_{P}  = pulse power  E_{P}  = pulse energy  t_{p}  = pulse duration  f_{p}  = pulse frequency  P  = average power  I  = power density  A  = beam area 

Formula for fibre applications:
 NA  = numerical aperture  n  = refractive index in front of the fibre  α  = full angular aperture of the fibre 
