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Proceedings Paper

Optical damage observed in the LHMEL II output coupler
Author(s): John J. Eric; John O. Bagford; Christie L. H. Devlin; Robert J. Hull; Daniel B. Seibert
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Paper Abstract

During the annual NIST calibration testing done at the LHMEL facility in FY06 on its high energy Carbon-Dioxide lasers, the LHMEL II device suffered severe damage to the internal surface of its ZnSe output coupler optics. The damage occurred during a high power, short duration run and it was believed to have been the result of a significant amount of surface contaminants interacting with the LHMEL cavity beam. Initial theories as to the source of the contamination led to the inspection of the vacuum grease that seals the piping that supplies the source gases to the laser cavity. Other contamination sources were considered, and analysis was conducted in an effort to identify the material found at the damage sites on the optic, but the tests were mainly inconclusive. Some procedure changes were initiated to identify possible contamination before high energy laser operation in an attempt to mitigate and possibly prevent the continued occurrence of damage to the output coupler window. This paper is to illustrate the type and extent of the damage encountered, highlight some of the theories as to the contamination source, and serve as a notice as to the severity and consequences of damage that is possible even due to small amounts of foreign material in a high energy laser environment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 December 2007
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6720, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2007, 67201O (21 December 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.758950
Show Author Affiliations
John J. Eric, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
John O. Bagford, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (United States)
Christie L. H. Devlin, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (United States)
Robert J. Hull, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (United States)
Daniel B. Seibert, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6720:
Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2007
Gregory J. Exarhos; Arthur H. Guenther; Keith L. Lewis; Detlev Ristau; M. J. Soileau; Christopher J. Stolz, Editor(s)

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