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Proceedings Paper

Study of the environmental and optical durability of AR microstructures in sapphire, ALON, and diamond
Author(s): Douglas S. Hobbs
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Paper Abstract

Data is presented for the erosion resistance and pulsed laser damage threshold of anti-reflecting (AR) microstructures built in the surface of the infrared light transmitting window materials sapphire, ALON, and diamond. It was found that the erosion resistance of AR microstructures (ARMs) in sapphire is comparable to the resistance of sapphire with no AR treatment. Such environmental durability, combined with the enhanced light transmission of windows incorporating ARMs, provides system designers with an effective solution for applications requiring high transmission over long mission times operating in abrasive environments. In addition, the optical power handling capacity of sapphire and ALON windows was investigated through pulsed laser damage threshold measurements with a laser source operating in the near infrared at a wavelength of 1573nm. As with prior results reported for ARMs in fused silica and borosilicate glass, the measured damage threshold of 19 J/cm2 for ARMs treated sapphire windows is comparable to the damage level measured for untreated sapphire windows, and this level is at least two times higher than that found with the most durable thin-film AR coatings designed for fused silica. The damage thresholds measured for untreated and ARMs treated ALON windows was also comparable, but at a level more than four times less than the sapphire windows. Lastly, the long-wave infrared light transmission of high performance ARMs fabricated in clear diamond windows is presented. The Air Force Research Laboratoy's Laser Hardened Materials Evaluation Laboratory at WPAFB tested the damage threshold of the ARMs treated diamond windows along with untreated diamond windows using their pulsed CO2 laser setup operating at 9.56μm. Although the results of the tests using two different laser settings were quite variable and inconsistent due to the nature of the diamond material, the damage thresholds measured were in the 50 to 100 J/cm2 range, a level much higher than can be achieved with thin-film AR coatings.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7302, Window and Dome Technologies and Materials XI, 73020J (27 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818335
Show Author Affiliations
Douglas S. Hobbs, TelAztec LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7302:
Window and Dome Technologies and Materials XI
Randal W. Tustison, Editor(s)

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