Investigations of laser- and radiation-induced damage towards developing damage-resistant optical materials
Laser-induced damage inside laser crystals, nonlinear crystals, and surface of optical components (e.g. lenses, mirrors) limits the output of both large-aperture and table-top laser systems. In general, optical damage is precipitated by heating due to intrinsic and localized absorption of free carriers and impurities, respectively. Though it has been experimentally established that damage threshold is laser pulse duration-dependent, crucial information about the morphology and temporal evolution of the damage remains difficult to predict. So we use a statistical method based on a percolation model to reproduce the development of optical damage on the surface of a material, i.e., a 2D system. The model looks at the critical behavior of the damage threshold based on material properties (e.g. thermal conductivity, heat capacity, absorption coefficient) and laser excitation (e.g. pulse duration, fluence). Key conditions that can manifest certain damage morphology and threshold will help elucidate future design of durable and damage-resistant optical materials.