Abstract

When potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) crystals are exposed to high-energy laser irradiation, the pre-existing surface defects may act as damage precursors and will reduce the lifespan of the crystal components. Although it has been found that different kinds of surface defects exhibit distinct damage characteristics, the influence of surface defects on the laser-induced damage performance of KDP crystal is not yet clear. In this paper, KDP surface defects have been characterized by multiple measuring methods and classified into five categories according to their structure features. Laser-induced damage tests were then carried out to investigate the laser-induced damage thresholds of different kinds of KDP surface defects as well as the evolution of the morphology of damage sites. The results of the experiment indicate that the damage thresholds of cracks, fracture pits, and surface protuberances are between 6 and 11  J/cm2 (355 nm, 3 ns, similarly hereinafter), which are much lower than the thresholds of plastic scratches, discontinuous scratches, and a defect-free KDP surface. In addition, it has been found that fluorescence enhancement is just a necessary condition for reduction of damage thresholds. Finally, reasons for the formation of the most threatening KDP surface defects have been analyzed and corresponding suppression measures have been proposed for increasing the surface damage thresholds of the crystal components.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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