The damage to optics from high power laser radiation depends in part upon the surface films on the system optics. Approaches to hardening these surfaces to these types of radiation have focused on layered film compositions and upon the reduction of structural defects in the films and the substrates. The importance of heavy metal contamination at trace levels (less than one thousandths of a monolayer) in the top few monolayers of the surfaces, or at the film interfaces, has been minimized because of insufficient analytical technology to detect these impurities. These localized heavy metals may absorb radiation, ionize to high positive states, and become the source of defects leading to damage. This paper will describe a new analytical technique, Total Reflection X-Ray Fluorescence (TXRF), which is capable of quantitatively detecting heavy metals (Z>11) on the surface (top few nm's) of the substrates or films, with detection limits down to 1011 atoms/cm2 (in most cases several orders of magnitude better than ESCA or AES, and quantitative, in contrast to SIMS.)
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