10 October 2012 Thermal annealing of laser damage precursors on fused silica surfaces
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Abstract
Previous studies have identified two significant precursors of laser damage on fused silica surfaces at fluences <35  J/cm2: photoactive impurities from polishing and surface fractures. We evaluate isothermal heating as a means of remediating the defect structure associated with surface fractures. Vickers indentations are applied to silica surfaces at loads between 0.5 and 10 N, creating fracture networks. The indentations are characterized before and following thermal annealing under various time and temperature conditions using confocal time-resolved photo-luminescence (CTP) imaging, and R/1 damage testing with 3-ns, 355-nm laser pulses. Improvements in the damage thresholds with reductions in CTP intensity are observed at temperatures well below the glass transition temperature (Tg). The damage threshold on 0.5-N indentations improves from <8 to >35  J/cm2 after annealing at approximately 750°C. Larger fracture networks require longer or higher temperature treatment to achieve similar results. At an annealing temperature >1100°C, optical microscopy indicates morphological changes in some of the fractures surrounding the indentations, although remnants of the original fractures are still observed. We demonstrate the potential of using isothermal annealing to improve the laser damage resistance of silica optics, and provide a means of further understanding the physics of optical damage and mitigation.
© 2012 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Nan Shen, Philip E. Miller, Jeffrey D. Bude, Ted A. Laurence, Tayyab I. Suratwala, William A. Steele, Michael D. Feit, Lana L. Wong, "Thermal annealing of laser damage precursors on fused silica surfaces," Optical Engineering 51(12), 121817 (10 October 2012). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.OE.51.12.121817 . Submission:
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