Modeling of laser damage initiated by surface contamination
Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 1996
We are engaged in a comprehensive effort to understand and model the initiation and growth of laser damage initiated by surface contaminants. This includes, for example, the initial absorption by the contaminant, heating and plasma generation, pressure and thermal loading of the transparent substrate, and subsequent shockwave propagation, "splashing" of molten material and possible spallation, optical propagation and scattering, and treatment of material fracture. The integration use of large
... tion use of large radiation hydrodynamics codes, optical propagation codes and material strength codes enables a comprehensive view of the damage process The following picture of surface contaminant initiated laser damage is emerging from our simulations. On the entrance optical surface, small particles can ablate nearly completely. In this case, only relatively weak shockwaves are launched into the substrate, but some particulate material may be left on the surface to act as a diffraction mask and cause further absorption. Diffraction by wavelength scale scattering centers can lead to significant intensity modulation. Larger particles will not be completely vaporized. The shockwave generated in this case is larger and can lead to spallation of contaminant material which then may be deposited in the substrate. A gaseous atmosphere can lead to radiation trapping with concomitant increases in temperature and pressure near the surface. In addition, supersonic ionization waves in air may be generated which greatly extend the plasma plume spatially and temporally. Contaminants on the exit optical surface behave differently. They tend to heat and pop off completely in which case significant damage may not occur. Since plasma formed at the interface of the optic and absorbing particle is confined, much stronger pressures are generated in this case. Imaging of contaminants resulting in "writing" a diffraction pattern on the exit surface due to contamination on the entrance surface has been observed experimentally and predicted theoretically. Such imprinted damage regions can seed damage from subsequent pulses.