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This paper presents two methods for evaluation of the effective wavenumber of nearly-Gaussian beams in laser interferometers that can be used for determination of a so called diffraction correction in absolute gravimeters. The first method, that can be simply used in situ, is an empirical procedure based on the evaluation of the variability of g measurements against the amount of light limited by an iris diaphragm and transmitted to a photodetector. However, precision of this method depends on the beam quality similarly as in the case of the conventional method based on measurement of a beam width. The second method, that is more complex, is based on beam profiling in various distances and on calculation of the effective wavenumber using the second spatial derivative of a non-ideal beam field envelope. The measurement results achieved by both methods are presented on an example of two absolute gravimeters and the determined diffraction corrections are compared with the results obtained by measurements of beam width. Agreement of methods within about 1 mGal have been obtained with average diffraction corrections slightly exceeding +2 mGal for three FG5(X) gravimeter configurations.
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