We report on the cause and corrective actions of three amplifier crystal fractures in the space-qualified laser systems used in NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2). The ICESat-2 lasers each contain three end-pumped Nd:YVOO4 amplifier stages. The crystals are clamped between two gold plated copper heat spreaders with an indium foil thermal interface material, and the crystal fractures occurred after multiple years of storage and over a year of operational run-time. The primary contributors are high compressive loading of the NdYVO4 crystals at the beginning of life, a time dependent crystal stress caused by an intermetallic reaction of the gold plating and indium, and slow crack growth resulting in a reduction in crystal strength over time. An updated crystal mounting scheme was designed, analyzed, fabricated and tested. Thee fracture slab failure analysis, finite-element modeling and corrective actions are presented.
Nicholas W. Sawruk, Patrick M. Burns, Ryan E. Edwards, Viatcheslav Litvinovitch, Nigel Martin, Greg Witt, Elias Fakhoury, John Iskander, Mark S. Pronko, Elisavet Troupaki, Michael M. Bay, Charles C. He, Liqin L. Wang, John F. Cavanaugh, Babak Farrokh, Jonathan A. Salem, and Eric Baker, "ICESat-2 laser Nd:YVO4 amplifier," Proc. SPIE 10513, Components and Packaging for Laser Systems IV, 105130X (Presented at SPIE LASE: February 01, 2018; Published: 20 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2292256.
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