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23 November 2015 Study of laser-induced damage at 1064nm in fused silica samples in vacuum environment
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The influence of vacuum on nanosecond laser-induced damage at the exit surface of fused silica components is investigated at 1064 nm. In the present study, as previously observed in air, ring patterns surrounding laserinduced damage sites are systematically observed on a plane surface when initiated by multiple longitudinal modes laser pulses. Compared to air, the printed pattern is clearly more concentrated. The obtained correlation between the damage morphology and the temporal structure of the pulses suggests a laser-driven ablation mechanism resulting in a thorough imprint of energy deposit. The ablation process is assumed to be subsequent to an activation of the surface by hot electrons related to the diffusive expansion of a plasma formed from silica. This interpretation is strongly reinforced with additional experiments performed on an optical grating in vacuum on which damage sites do not show any ring pattern. Qualitatively, in vacuum, the intensity-dependent ring appearance speed VI1/2 is shown to be different than in air where VI1/3 . This demonstrates that the mechanisms of formation of ring patterns are different in vacuum than in air. Moreover, the mechanism responsible of the propagation of the activation front in vacuum is shown to be outdone when experiments are performed in air.
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R. Diaz, M. Chambonneau, P. Grua, J.-L. Rullier, J.-Y. Natoli, and L. Lamaignère "Study of laser-induced damage at 1064nm in fused silica samples in vacuum environment", Proc. SPIE 9632, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2015, 96320F (23 November 2015);

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