A simple formalism is presented for interpreting the influence of experimental design parameters on CARS profiles. An explanation for the observed CARS signal is given in terms of idealized limiting cases for both narrow band and broadband applications, with the role of the detector slit function emphasized in interpreting experimental results. Expressions are derived that reduce the calculation of the CARS signal to a single numerical integration for Gaussian laser profiles and both Gaussian and triangular slit functions. These expressions explicitly contain the experimental design parameters. For flexibility, the form of the susceptibility is unspecified except for a single frequency dependence.

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