Optical Damage Threshold of Silicon for Ultrafast Infrared Pulses Page: 1 of 7
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Optical Damage Threshold of Silicon for
Ultrafast Infrared Pulses
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Abstract. While silicon has several properties making it an attractive material for structure-based
laser-driven acceleration, its optical damage threshold, a key parameter for high-gradient acceler-
ation, has been unknown. Here we present measurements of the optical damage threshold of crys-
talline silicon for ultrafast pulses in the mid-infrared. The wavelengths tested span a range from the
telecommunications band at 1550 nm extending longer toward the two-photon absorption thresh-
old at around 2200 nm. We discuss the prevailing theories of ultrafast optical breakdown, describe
the experimental setup and preliminary results, and propose a relevant performance parameter for
candidate accelerator structures.
The following article has been submitted to 12th Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop (AAC
2006), Lake Geneva, WI, July 10-15, 2006. After it is published, it will be found at
h tp ://proceedings . aip . org/proceedings.
Silicon is an attractive material for structure-based laser-driven acceleration for several
reasons. It is transparent in the mid-infrared , in particular in the telecommunications
band at 1550 nm where many promising sources exist (see for instance ). It has a high
index of refraction at those wavelengths, which is generally required for the creation
of photonic crystal structures with complete bandgaps . It is resistant to radiation
damage . In addition, highly developed nanofabrication techniques exist for silicon
due to its use in integrated circuits.
In previous work we have computationally demonstrated a speed-of-light accelerating
mode in a structure based on a complete photonic bandgap material and investigated
its properties, including particle beam dynamics and mode coupling . However, the
maximum sustainable accelerating gradient, a key parameter for an accelerator structure,
has been unknown. This is because the optical damage threshold for potential materials,
including silicon, has not previously been measured for wavelengths and laser pulse
widths of interest. In the following section we will discuss the prevailing theories behind
optical damage. Next we will describe an experiment to measure the optical breakdown
threshold of crystalline silicon for ultrafast pulses in the infrared and present preliminary
results. Finally, we will discuss a relevant performance parameter for accelerators and
1 Work supported by Department of Energy contracts DE-AC02-76SF00515 (SLAC) and DE-FG03-
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Cowan, B. Optical Damage Threshold of Silicon for Ultrafast Infrared Pulses, article, September 7, 2006; [Menlo Park, California]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882699/m1/1/: accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.