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31 October 2014 Modeling the material properties at the onset of damage initiation in bulk potassium dihydrogen phosphate crystals
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A model simulating transient optical properties during laser damage in the bulk of KDP/DKDP crystals is presented. The model was developed and tested using as a benchmark its ability to reproduce the well-documented damage initiation behaviors but most importantly, the salient behavior of the wavelength dependence of the damage threshold. The model involves two phases. During phase I, the model assumes a moderate localized initial absorption that is strongly enhanced during the laser pulse via excited state absorption and thermally driven generation of additional point defects in the surrounding material. The model suggests that during a fraction of the pulse duration, the host material around the defect cluster is transformed into a strong absorber that leads to significant increase of the local temperature. During phase II, the model suggests that the excitation pathway consists mainly of one photon absorption events within a quasicontinuum of short-lived vibronic defect states spanning the band gap that was generated after the initial localized heating of the material due to thermal quenching of the excited state lifetimes. The width of the transition (steps) between different number of photons is governed by the instantaneous temperature, which was estimated using the experimental data. The model also suggests that the critical physical parameter prior to initiation of breakdown is the conduction band electron density. This model, employing very few free parameters, for the first time is able to quantitatively reproduce the wavelength dependence of the damage initiation threshold, and thus provides important insight into the physical processes involved.
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Stavros G. Demos, Michael D. Feit, Guillaume Duchateau, and Carly R. Limtiaco "Modeling the material properties at the onset of damage initiation in bulk potassium dihydrogen phosphate crystals", Proc. SPIE 9237, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2014, 92370W (31 October 2014);

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