Abstract

A simple and sensitive mode-mismatched thermal lens (TL) technique with a pulsed top-hat beam excitation and a near-field detection scheme is developed to measure in situ the thermoelastic and the thermooptical responses of ultraviolet (UV) dielectric coatings as well as bulk materials under excimer laser (193- or 248-nm) irradiations. Owing to its high sensitivity, the TL technique can be used for measurements at fluences far below the laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT). We report on the measurement of both linear and nonlinear absorption of the UV dielectric coatings and bulk materials as well as the investigation of time-resolved predamage phenomena, such as laser conditioning of highly reflective dielectric coatings and irradiation-induced changes of a coating’s various properties. The pulsed TL technique is also a convenient technique for accurate measurement of the LIDT of dielectric coatings and for distinguishing different damage mechanisms: thermal-stress-induced damage or melting-induced damage.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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