In high power laser systems, crystal defects introduced by manufacturing have significant impact on quality of light beams; finally affect the output status of high power laser system. The phase retrieval algorithm can precisely measure the crystal defects, such as the residual periodic perturbations in a relatively large area and the relatively small point defects, with the resolution of micrometer magnitude. At the same time, the multiple near-focus intensity measurements algorithm used here can retrieve the morphology of focal spot, which is modulated by the defects and cannot be directly measured due to its high power. In addition, the algorithm has been improved in order to use less measurement planes and less iteration times to complete retrieval.
An accurate evaluation method with an amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) as the irradiation source has been developed for testing thin-film damage threshold. The partial coherence of the ASE source results in a very smooth beam profile in the near-field and a uniform intensity distribution of the focal spot in the far-field. ASE is generated by an Nd: glass rod amplifier in SG-II high power laser facility, with pulse duration of 9 ns and spectral width (FWHM) of 1 nm. The damage threshold of the TiO<sub>2</sub> high reflection film is 14.4J/cm<sup>2</sup> using ASE as the irradiation source, about twice of 7.4 J/cm<sup>2</sup> that tested by a laser source with the same pulse duration and central wavelength. The damage area induced by ASE is small with small-scale desquamation and a few pits, corresponding to the defect distribution of samples. Large area desquamation is observed in the area damaged by laser, as the main reason that the non-uniformity of the laser light. The ASE damage threshold leads to more accurate evaluations of the samples damage probability by reducing the influence of hot spots in the irradiation beam. Furthermore, the ASE source has a great potential in the detection of the defect distribution of the optical elements.