A modification to the well-known z-scan technique for measuring optical non-linearities is introduced. It is based on directly measuring the beam radius in the far field instead of the transmittance of the irradiance through an aperture, as in the original version. It has the advantage of being insensitive to beam pointing instability and is almost insensitive to power fluctuations. Furthermore, the calculations required for the determination of the non-linear parameters are simplified. For demonstrating the advantages of the modified method, beam radius and transmittance measurements were simultaneously taken in the standard non-linear optical material CS2. Separate fittings of these measurements gave almost the same values for the non-linearities, quite similar to those in the literature. A common fitting has been applied to both sets of measurements, enhancing the accuracy of the method.
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