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This tutorial text emphasizes that there are a number of factors that join together to prevent the optimum performance of optical systems that incorporate high-power lasers. It is not always self-evident when low-power tests are made that the optical characteristics of the components may be quite different at higher beam powers. It is also not always obvious when tests are made of the transmission of individual components, even at the proposed beam powers, why the performance of many systems degrades with increasing power and energy in the beam.
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