# What would a laser beam's E-M waves actually look like if you zoomed in?

I am trying to understand how a real world beam of laser actually reflects the physics description of oscillating electromagnetic waves.

So say we are looking side on at a vertically polarized laser beam, and this is section of it propagating through free space:

Ive cut down the opacity and zoomed in now to illustrate my question on what would the waves look like? Something like...

But how can this form a Gaussian intensity profile? Maybe there are more of these waves dispersed through out it, and their amplitude denotes the intensity e.g:

Where the waves closer to the edge of the beam are the same wavelength but smaller amplitude than the main section...? But now we have only considered a horizontal cross section, what would it be like if you looked at it from above?

Thanks

• You must always label your pictures! What kind of waves are you drawing? Why do you have the laser beam still 2D when the y-axis must clearly represent something like current amplitude and not position? Please make more precise what you are trying to do/ask here, since zooming in is not what you did in the pictures (you can't zoom in in any meaningful sense since EM waves are only visible when they hit your eye, the light we see from laser beams is scattered off particles in the beam's way) – ACuriousMind Aug 27 '14 at 20:46
• @ACuriousMind Hi, This is meant to be a hypothetical snapshot of a cross section looking perpendicular to a laser beam. I understand that all we see is the scattering from the particles in the air, but it was for illustration. And it is meant to be frozen in time, so a particular instant. – Steve Hatcher Aug 28 '14 at 3:01