When the wavelength of a laser is tuned across a spectral line, the spectral positions of the observed peaks of the absorption, fluorescence, or ionization signals may be distorted by saturation and prefilter effects. Theoretical models are presented which predict the spectral shifts that may occur when there is an asymmetry in either the line or laser spectral profiles. Examples are presented that show the appearance of an extra peak, and a dramatic shift equal in magnitude to the half-width of a profile. Spectral broadening is predicted for both symmetric and asymmetric spectral profiles. Line reversal is a predicted prefilter effect, in the absence of saturation. Saturation and prefilter effects are treated separately to emphasize their individual characteristics.
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