Observed Defects Reliably Predict Laser Damage

Observed Defects Reliably Predict Laser Damage

Laser-damage characteristics of optics can be determined based on observed defects, an approach that is both more reliable and less time-consuming than traditional laser-damage testing.


Laser-damage characteristics of optics can be determined based on observed defects, an approach that is both more reliable and less time-consuming than traditional laser-damage testing.
[Advances in Optics: Observed defects reliably determine laser-damage characteristics]

Laser-damage testing is widely used by manufacturers of lasers and laser systems to ensure the reliability of their products. However, there are limitations in traditional laser-damage testing protocols, as well as widespread misunderstanding of how to interpret damage test results. As a result, users of original-equipment-manufacturer (OEM) laser optics often overspecify their optics, which can drive up cost unnecessarily and yet still not prevent damage from occurring under actual use conditions.

Laser damage to optics is often associated with pre-existing coating defects.

This article reviews a recent study that attempts to establish a correlation between observed coating defects and laser damage. Results indicate that it might be possible to develop an alternate methodology for determining damage characteristics, based on observed defects, which is both more reliable and less time-consuming than traditional laser damage testing protocols.

The exact mechanism by which laser damage occurs in optics and thin films depends very much upon the particulars of the operating regime of the laser and the materials involved. For example, there are differences in the damage mechanism between deep-ultraviolet and visible lasers, and between ultrafast and continuous-wave (CW) lasers.

Because Q-switched, solid-state lasers are widely used in industrial and military applications, damage relating to these has a significant economic impact. Therefore, to render this discussion manageable and practical, it will be confined exclusively toQ-switched, solid-state lasers with nanosecond-regime pulse widths, pulse energies of under 1 J, and output in the near-infrared and visible.

http://digital.laserfocusworld.com/laserfocusworld/201403?pg=37#pg37

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