1 September 1995 Optical scatter as a diagnostic tool for studying bulk defects which cause laser damage in conventional and rapid-growth KDP and DKDP
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Abstract
Single crystals of KH2PO4 (KDP) and (DxHlx)2PO4 (DKDP) will be used for frequency conversion and as part of a large aperture optical switch in the proposed National Ignition Facility (NW) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). These crystals must have good optical properties and high laser damage thresholds. Currently these crystals have a lower laser damage threshold than other optical materials in the laser chain which has forced designers to limit the output fluence of the NIF in order to avoid damaging the crystals. Furthermore, while more efficient frequency conversion schemes are being explored both theoretically and experimentally, the advantages of these schemes can not be fully realized unless the damage thresholds of the conversion crystals are increased. Over the past decade, LLNL has generated an extensive data base on the laser damage in KDP and DKDP crystals both at the first and third harmonics of Nd-YAG.1 While the damage thresholds of these crystals have increased over this time period due, in part, to better filtration of the growth solution,2 the damage thresholds of the best crystals are still far below what is expected from theoretical limits calculated from the band structure of perfect crystals. Thus damage in KDP and DKDP is caused by defects in the crystals. We also rely on a process called laser conditioning to improve the damage thresholds of the crystals. Unfortunately, little is understood about the mechanism of laser induced damage, the conditioning process in the crystals, or the defects which are responsible for damage. We have recently implemented a scatter diagnostic for locating and studying defects in crystals and as a tool for studying the mechanism of laser damage and laser conditioning.
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Bruce W. Woods, Michael J. Runkel, Ming Yan, James J. De Yoreo, Mark R. Kozlowski, "Optical scatter as a diagnostic tool for studying bulk defects which cause laser damage in conventional and rapid-growth KDP and DKDP", Proc. SPIE 2541, Optical Scattering in the Optics, Semiconductor, and Computer Disk Industries, (1 September 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.218328; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.218328
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