31 December 2009 Optical damage testing at the Z-Backlighter facility at Sandia National Laboratories
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Abstract
To enable laser-based radiography of high energy density physics events on the Z-Accelerator[4,5] at Sandia National Laboratories, a facility known as the Z-Backlighter has been developed. Two Nd:Phosphate glass lasers are used to create x-rays and/or proton beams capable of this radiographic diagnosis: Z-Beamlet (a multi-kilojoule laser operating at 527nm in a few nanoseconds) and Z-Petawatt (a several hundred joule laser operating at 1054nm in the subpicosecond regime) [1,2]. At the energy densities used in these systems, it is necessary to use high damage threshold optical materials, some of which are poorly characterized (especially for the sub-picosecond pulse). For example, Sandia has developed a meter-class dielectric coating capability for system optics. Damage testing can be performed by external facilities for nanosecond 532nm pulses, measuring high reflector coating damage thresholds >80J/cm2 and antireflection coating damage thresholds >20J/cm2 [3]. However, available external testing capabilities do not use femtosecond/picosecond scale laser pulses. To this end, we have constructed a sub-picoseond-laser-based optical damage test system. The damage tester system also allows for testing in a vacuum vessel, which is relevant since many optics in the Z-Backlighter system are used in vacuum. This paper will present the results of laser induced damage testing performed in both atmosphere and in vacuum, with 1054nm sub-picosecond laser pulses. Optical materials/coatings discussed are: bare fused silica and protected gold used for benchmarking; BK7; Zerodur; protected silver; and dielectric optical coatings (halfnia/silica layer pairs) produced by Sandia's in-house meter-class coating capability.
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Mark Kimmel, Patrick Rambo, Robin Broyles, Matthias Geissel, Jens Schwarz, John Bellum, Briggs Atherton, "Optical damage testing at the Z-Backlighter facility at Sandia National Laboratories", Proc. SPIE 7504, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2009, 75041G (31 December 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.836917; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.836917
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