Industrial laser systems aim for the maximum energy extraction possible. Heraeus Quarzglas developed an Yb-doped fused silica fiber to support this growing market. But the performance of laser welding and cutting systems is fundamentally limited by beam quality and stability of focus. Since absorption in the optical components of optical systems has a detrimental effect on the laser focus shift, the beam energy loss and the resulting heating has to be minimized both in the bulk materials and at the coated surfaces. In collaboration with a laser research institute, an optical finisher and end users, photo thermal absorption measurements on coated samples of different fused silica grades were performed to investigate the influence of basic material properties on the absorption level.
High purity, synthetic fused silica is as well the material of choice for optical components designed for DUV applications (wavelength range 160 nm - 260 nm). For higher light intensities, e.g. provided by Excimer lasers, UV photons may generate defect centers that effect the optical properties during usage, resulting in an aging of the optical components (UV radiation damage). Powerful Excimer lasers require optical materials that can withstand photon energy close to the band gap and the high intensity of the short pulse length. The UV transmission loss is restricted to the DUV wavelength range below 300 nm and consists of three different absorption bands centered at 165 nm (peroxy radicals), 215 nm (E’-center), and 265 nm (non-bridging oxygen hole center (NBOH)), which change the transmission behavior of material.