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31 December 2009 Optical damage testing at the Z-Backlighter facility at Sandia National Laboratories
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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.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Mark Kimmel, Patrick Rambo, Robin Broyles, Matthias Geissel, Jens Schwarz, John Bellum, and 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);

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