We have investigated the influence of laser beam size on laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT) in the case of single- and multiple-shot irradiation. The study was performed on hafnia thin films deposited with various technologies (evaporation, sputtering, with or without ion assistance). LIDT measurements were carried out at and with a spot size ranging from a few tens to a few hundreds of micrometers, in 1-on-1 and R-on-1 modes. These measurements were compared with simulations obtained with the statistical theory of laser-induced damage caused by initiating inclusions.
We show how to obtain information on the initiating defect properties and the related physical damage mechanisms with a multiscale study. Under certain conditions, it is possible with this method to discriminate different defects, estimate their densities, and follow the evolution of the defects under multiple irradiation. The different metrology implications of our approach, particularly for obtaining a functional LIDT of optical components are discussed.
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