Understanding of the laser-induced damage threshold and impact of air–vacuum cycling of the optical components in short-pulse laser systems is of fundamental importance. We report the results of a damage-testing campaign that monitored representative pulse compression grating samples that were positioned inside the OMEGA EP grating compressor vacuum chamber during normal operation and routinely damage tested on every quarterly vent for a period of about 10 years. The evolution of their damage resistance under 10-ps and 100-ps pulse lengths are associated with a significant degradation of the laser-induced damage thresholds, which is comparatively larger at 100 ps, is described.
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