Abstract

Certain spaceborne telescope designs require that dielectric-coated lenses be exposed to the energetic electrons and protons associated with the space environment. Test coupons that were exposed to a simulated space environment showed extensive pitting as a result of dielectric breakdown. A typical pit was 50–100 µm at the surface and extended to the substrate material, in which a 10-µm-diameter melt region was found. Pitting was not observed on similar samples that had also been overcoated with a transparent conductive thin film. Measurement of the bidirectional reflectance distribution transfer function showed that pitting caused a fivefold to tenfold increase in the scattering of visible light.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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