SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1985

Laser-Induced Emission and Laser Damage of Optical Components


The role of point defects in the failure of high-power laser optical components has been the subject of many analytical and experimental studies. We describe a related surface effect, newly observed, which is visible-wavelength emission from component surfaces undergoing exposure to infrared laser radiation at levels far below the visible damage threshold. This effect has been observed on a variety of optical components, including coated reflectors and uncoated window materials. In large-spot tests, the total emission amplitude exhibits strong time dependence. Spatial imaging shows distinct point sources of the visible emission, some of which recur during multiple-shot tests. Spatial correlations between (a) microscopic surface defects visible before damage, (b) emission points due to laser irradiation, and (c) damage points due to high-power laser irradiation, have been studied using spatial mapping techniques with indexing uncertainties of ∼25 μm. For dielectric coatings, a strong correlation is observed between the recurrent visible emission points, and pulsed laser damage points.

Author Information

Nichols, DB
Morris, DJ
Bailey, MP
Hall, RB
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Developed by Committee: E13
Pages: 423–428
DOI: 10.1520/STP28997S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4956-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0930-8