This paper reports the results of a study to determine the degrading effects of flowing dye solvents on the laser damage threshold of fused-silica windows at 308 nm. Thresholds were measured at the SiO2solvent interface in a test cell. Bare SiO2 tested in air at 308 nm (20 ns) typically exhibits a threshold ranging from 4 to 10 J/cm2; with the solvent cyclohexane in contact, a threshold as low as 0.3 J/cm2 was measured. The damage data indicate that window lifetime (number of shots) is independent of fluence at higher levels, and asymptotically approaches infinity at levels near threshold. Dielectric coatings were tested as possible damage-resistant barriers between the solvent and SiO2; the results show some improvement in damage threshold. When cyclohexane is replaced with the solvent dioxane, thresholds measured for SiO2 windows are within the range cited above for thresholds measured in air.
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