A reactive electron beam evaporation process was used to fabricate high reflectors. The deposition process was optimized to reduce the nodular density. Cross-sectioning of nodular defects by a focused ion-beam milling instrument showed that the nodule seeds were the residual particles on the substrate and the particulates from the silica source “splitting.” After optimizing the substrate preparation procedure and the evaporation process, a low nodular density of was achieved. The laser damage test revealed that the ejection fluences and damage growth behaviors of nodules created from deep or shallow seeds were totally different. A mechanism based on directional plasma scald was proposed to interpret observed damage growth phenomenon.
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