We describe a new facility for studying damage induced by 1064-nm, 16-ns, 0.6-J laser pulses at repetition rates up to 120 Hz. This facility is built around four commercial 30-Hz Nd:YAG lasers fired under computer control. The beams from the four lasers are combined using thin-film polarizers and rotating half-wave plates to obtain a single irradiated spot on a test target. We also describe computer controlled beam diagnostics based on a commercial video frame-grabber.
This facility has been used to compile a database of damage thresholds for a variety of materials under average power conditions. Details of this database are presented in a companion paper.
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