The growth of damage sites from micrometric to millimetric scales under high energy laser system conditions
have herein been investigated. In this realm, a saturation of the surface growth followed by the rapid expansion of
radial cracks has been observed. This observation contrasts with the previously reported exponential behavior1
(for pulse durations above 2 ns) and linear behavior (for pulse durations below 2 ns). The observation of the
longitudinal damage structure coupled with fractal analysis has shown that these shifts in growth behavior seem
to be correlated with changes in the damage morphology.
A millimetric aperture Nd:glass laser system has been designed and constructed at the CEA-CESTA. Its aim is to best mimic the laser conditions that can be found in inertial confinement fusion facilities. It is therefore used to study the main phenomena that prevents these lasers to work at their maximum power: the laser induced damage of the optical components. The combination of temporal and spatial modulators provides, every minute, a 6 J, 7 mm, 351 nm homogeneous beam at the fused silica sample location. This proceeding illustrates the capacity of the facility over two experiments: the study of damage initiation and the growth of laser damage sites on fused silica, up to millimetric scales