Mechanisms to explain damage growth in optical materials

S. G. Demos, M. R. Kozlowski, M. Staggs, L. L. Chase, A. Burnham, H. B. Radousky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

40 Scopus citations


Damage growth in optical materials used in large aperture laser systems is an issue of great importance when determining component lifetime and therefore cost of operation. Understanding the mechanisms and photophysical processes associated with damage growth are important in order to devise mitigation techniques. In this work we examined plasma-modified material and cracks for their correlation to damage growth on fused silica and DKDP samples. We employ an in-situ damage testing optical microscope that allows the acquisition of light scattering and fluorescence images of the area of interest prior to, and following exposure to a high fluence, 355-nm, 3-ns laser pulse. In addition, high-resolution images of the damage event are recorded using the associated plasma emission. Experimental results indicate that both aforementioned features can initiate plasma formation at fluences as low as 2 J/cm 2. The intensity of the recorded plasma emission remains low for fluences up to approximately 5 J/cm 2 but rapidly increases thereafter. Based on the experimental results, we propose as possible mechanisms leading to damage growth the initiation of avalanche ionization by defects at the damage modified material and presence of field intensification due to cracks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsG.J. Exarhos, A.H. Guenther, M.R. Kozlowski, K.L. Lewis, M.J. Soileau
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event32nd Annual Boulder Damage Symposium - Laser-Induced Damaged in Optical Materials: 2000 - Boulder, CO, United States
Duration: Oct 16 2000Oct 18 2000


Other32nd Annual Boulder Damage Symposium - Laser-Induced Damaged in Optical Materials: 2000
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoulder, CO


  • DKDP
  • KDP
  • Laser damage
  • Optical breakdown
  • SiO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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