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Passive Q-switches manufactured with cellulose acetate are generally used in portable/handheld Nd:YAG laser rangefinders. The advantages of this type of Q-switch device are small size, economy and simplicity of operation. However, the limitation of this type of passive Q-switch is its low damage threshold.
For Nd:YAG laser, Bis (4-Dimethyaminodithiobenzil) Nickel dye is generally doped in 0.125 to 0.250 mm thick sheets of cellulose acetate material. Bis-Nickel dye in a cellulose acetate host, when inserted in a Nd:YAG laser resonator and exposed to 1.06 micron radiation, saturates and bleaches giving a giant Q-switch pulse. Commercially available cellulose acetate sheets of this passive Q-switch suffer permanent optical damage when operated at 20 mJ output energy in a 20 ns pulse width at 10 Hz repetition rate. To improve the damage threshold of the passive Q-switch, a process for improving transmission and optical properties (voids, inclusions, etc.) of the host cellulose acetate was developed. The details of the process will be discussed and the damage measurement data collected will be presented.
cellulose acetate, dye Q-switch, laser damage, multiple shot laser damage, passive Q-switch
International Laser Systems, Inc., Orlando, FLorida