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23 November 2015 Laser damage threshold: useful idea or dangerous misconception?
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The concept of a laser damage threshold as a safe operating level is both useful and confounding. This paper examines and analyzes the power of the concept of a laser damage threshold, identifying the good and the danger in its use. The history of the definition and concept of the laser damage threshold is traced from the earliest days of the laser through to the present day. Criteria for an accurate threshold measurement are presented and distribution of the weakest site on an optic is derived to provide a basis of analysis. Using a pedagogically selected defect distribution, the statistics of the weakest site are derived. The dependence of the weakest site on the area of the test is shown explicitly. It is argued that typical small area tests, characteristic of most main stream damage tests have insufficient area to include the true weakest site, and are therefore generally inaccurate. The paper concludes with some ideas on how to redefine the threshold measurement technique resulting in a more accurate test procedure.
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Jonathan W. Arenberg "Laser damage threshold: useful idea or dangerous misconception?", Proc. SPIE 9632, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2015, 96320P (23 November 2015);

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