Description: Damage studies show that the majority of damage on ultraviolet grade fused silica initiates at the front or rear surface. The grinding and polishing processes used to produce the optical surfaces of transparent optics play a key role in the development of defects which can ultimately initiate damage. These defects can be on or breaking through the surface or can be sub-surface damage. Total Internal Reflection Microscopy has been documented as a tool for revealing both sub-surface and surface defects in transparent materials. Images taken which compare both Total Internal Reflection Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy show that the observed defects can be less than one micron in size. Total Internal Reflection Microscopy has the added benefit of being able to observe large areas (1 square millimeter) with sub-micron detection. Both off-line and in-situ systems have been applied in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory`s damage laboratory in order to understand defects in the surface and subsurface of polished fused silica. There is a preliminary indication that TIRM quality can be related to the damage resistance. The in-situ microscope is coupled into a 355 run, 7.5 ns, 10 Hz Nd:YAG laser system in order to study damage occurring at localized scatter sites revealed with the Total Internal Reflection Microscopy method. The tests indicate damage initiating at observed artifacts which have many different morphologies and damage behaviors. Some of the scatter sites and damage morphologies revealed have been related back to the finishing process.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Sheehan, L. M.
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