We simulate and calculate numerically the electromagnetic field and energy flux around a surface crack of an Nd-doped phosphate laser glass by using the finite-difference time-domain method. Because of a strong interference between the incident wave and the total internal reflections from the crack and the glass surface, the electric field is redistributed and enhanced. The results show that the electric-field distribution and corresponding energy flux component depend sensitively on the light polarization and crack geometry, such as orientation and depth. The polarization of the incident laser beam relative to the crack surfaces will determine the profile of the electric field around the crack. Under TE wave incidence, the energy flux peak is always inside the glass. But under TM wave incidence, the energy flux peak will be located inside the glass or inside the air gap. For both incident modes, the light intensification factor increases with the crack depth, especially for energy flux along the surface. Because cracks on the polished surfaces are the same as the roots extending down, the probability for much larger intensification occurring is high. The results suggest that the surface laser-damage threshold of Nd-doped phosphate may decrease dramatically with subsurface damage.
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