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SPIE Laser Damage Event News

SPIE Laser Damage

26-29 September 2010
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Boulder, Colorado, USA

Issues in thin films, fibers, and materials science of high-power, high-energy lasers occupied scientists in Colorado last week for the 42nd annual "Laser Damage" symposium organized by SPIE. Scientists and researchers convened for Laser Damage -- also known as Optical Materials for High Power Lasers -- at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) facility in Boulder 26-29 September.

A roundtable discussion, one of the youngest traditions of the symposium, opened the event on a solidly scientific note. Two of the event's Conference Cochairs, Vitaly Gruzdev (Univ. of Missouri, Columbia) and M.J. Soileau (Univ. of Central Florida), moderated the discussion on "Multiphoton ionization vs. avalanche (impact) ionization in laser-induced damage (LID) of transparent materials," with the goals of determining the contribution of those two ionization mechanisms in initiating LID, to understand conditions when a particular mechanism dominates, and to clarify the ways to detect or prove those ionization mechanisms in experiments.

"The discussion was focused very specifically and narrowly, with the intent to discuss it as deeply as possible," Gruzdev said. "These problems are very basic and fundamental in many fields of high-power laser research and technology related to laser-induced damage."

The third annual thin-film damage competition drew 11 companies and institutes, who each submitted antireflection coatings that were damage-tested by Spica Technologies with a 351-nm wavelength and 7.5-nm pulselength laser.

The most laser-resistant samples were manufactured by sol-gel coating with porous silica, reported competition organizer Chris Stolz (Lawrence Livermore National Lab).

"Hafnia and silica were the most popular coating materials, and tended to perform better than fluorides, scandia, or alumina," Stolz said. "E-beam and magnetron sputtered antireflection coatings performed comparably, highlighting that the laser resistance for these types of coatings tends to be affected more by process details than deposition method."

Networking events this year included open house receptions sponsored by Saint-Gobain Crystals and Precision Photonics at their facilities in Boulder, a reception at NCAR cosponsored by RMI and CVI Melles Griot, and -- new this year -- tours of the NIST facility including the -F1 and -F2 atomic clocks.

Gregory Exarhos (Pacific Northwest National Lab), Joseph Menapace (Lawrence Livermore National Lab), and Detlev Ristau (Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.) also served as Conference Cochairs.

The series of conference proceedings has grown to be a comprehensive source of information on optics for lasers and includes topics on materials and thin film preparation, durability, properties modeling, testing, and component fabrication. Papers are published individually in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as approved after the meeting, and subsequently as print and digital volumes.


Vitaly Gruzdev of the Univ. of Missoui, Columbia, (pictured standing, above) and M.J. Soileau, Univ. of Central Florida, moderated the Sunday evening roundtable discussion on multiphoton ionization versus avalanche (impact) ionization .

Christian Muhlig and Joe Menapace

The conference Best Paper Award was presented to Christian Muhlig (Institute of Photonic Technology), at left, by Conference Cochair Joseph Menapace (Lawrence Livermore National Lab).

Joseph Menapace and M.J. Soileau

M.J. Soileau, College of Optics and Photonics, Univ. of Central Florida, (at right) accepts the Best Oral Presentation Award on behalf of his colleague Eric Van Stryland, from Conference Cochair Joseph Menapace (Lawrence Livermore National Lab ).

Laser Damage 2010 Cochairs

Laser Damage 2010 Cochairs included, from left, Joseph Menapace (Lawrence Livermore National Lab), Gregory Exharos (Pacific Northwest National Lab), M.J. Soileau (Univ. of Central Florida), and Vitaly Gruzdev (Univ. of Missouri, Columbia), and (not pictured) Detlev Ristau (Laser Zentrum Hannover).

Laser Damage 2010 attendees pose during an evening reception at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Flatiron Mountains.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world.

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