Abstract

Cracks caused during the lapping and polishing process can decrease the laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT) of the BK7 glass optical elements, which would shorten the lifetime and limit the output power of the high-energy laser system. When BK7 glass is heated under appropriate conditions, the surface cracks can exhibit a self-healing phenomenon. In this paper, based on thermodynamics and viscous fluid mechanics theory, the mechanisms of crack self-healing are explained. The heat-healing experiment was carried out, and the effect of water was analyzed. The multi-spatial-frequency analysis was used to investigate the effect of temperature on surface error for self-healing BK7 glass, and the lapped BK7 glass specimens before and after heat healing were detected by an interferometer and atomic force microscopy. The low-spatial-frequency error was analyzed by peak to valley and root mean square, the mid-spatial-frequency error was analyzed by power spectral density, and the high-spatial-frequency error was analyzed by surface roughness. The results showed that the optimal heating temperature for BK7 was 450°C, and when the heating temperature was higher than the glass transition temperature (555°C), the surface quality decreased a lot. The laser damage test was performed, and the specimen heated at 450°C showed an improvement in LIDT.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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