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7 February 2006 Thin-film polarizers for the OMEGA EP laser system
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Thin-film polarizers are essential components of large laser systems such as OMEGA EP and the NIF because of the need to switch the beam out of the primary laser cavity (in conjunction with a plasma-electrode Pockels cell) as well as providing a well-defined linear polarization for frequency conversion and protecting the system from back-reflected light. The design and fabrication of polarizers for pulse-compressed laser systems is especially challenging because of the spectral bandwidth necessary for chirped-pulse amplification. The design requirements for a polarizer on the OMEGA EP Laser System include a Tp greater than 98% over a spectral range of 1053±4 nm while maintaining a contrast ratio (Tp/Ts) of greater than 200:1 (500:1 goal) over the same range. An allowance must be made for the uniformity of the film deposition such that the specifications are met over the aperture of the component while allowing for some tolerance of angular misalignment. Production results for hafnia/silica designs will be shown, illustrating high transmission and contrast over an extended wavelength/angular range suitable for the 8 nm spectral bandwidth of OMEGA EP. Difficulties in production will also be illustrated, as well as the methods being implemented to overcome these challenges. A key challenge continues to be the fabrication of such a coating suitable for use on fused-silica substrates in a dry environment. Laser-damage thresholds for 1-ns and 10-ps pulse widths will be discussed.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
J.B. Oliver, A.L. Rigatti, J.D. Howe, J. Keck, J. Szczepanski, A.W. Schmid, S. Papernov, A. Kozlov, and T.Z. Kosc "Thin-film polarizers for the OMEGA EP laser system", Proc. SPIE 5991, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2005, 599119 (7 February 2006);

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