We present an automatic excimer laser bench (SOCRATE) allowing for the treatment of optical components by laser conditioning. This apparatus, developed at the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique–Le Ripault, has been designed to add to this conditioning process an in situ, accurate laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT) measurement and different nondestructive optical techniques for the characterization of the component during treatment. Through different examples, we demonstrate the importance of these characterizations to improve the understanding of the laser conditioning. The role of an in situ adapted metrology associated in real time with a laser conditioning bench offers new opportunities to analyze laser-induced damage mechanisms and subsequently to increase the LIDT of optical components.
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