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This paper reports the effects of polishing material on the laser damage threshold of optical coatings. Two identical sets of BK-7 glass windows were polished to a laser quality surface finish. One set was polished with cerium dioxide (CeO2) and the second set was polished with a soft zirconia (ZrO2).
Samples of each type were coated with electron beam evaporated dielectric coatings. After coating, the samples were then tested to determine their relative damage threshold. The results for each polish type were then compared. Implications for the use of zirconia as an alternative polishing material for high power laser optics is presented.
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