Abstract

We investigate phase imaging as a measurement method for laser damage detection and analysis of laser-induced modification of optical materials. Experiments have been conducted with a wavefront sensor based on lateral shearing interferometry associated with a high-magnification optical microscope. The system has been used for the in-line observation of optical thin films and bulk samples, laser irradiated in two different conditions: 500 fs pulses at 343 and 1030 nm, and millisecond to second irradiation with a CO2 laser at 10.6 μm. We investigate the measurement of the laser-induced damage threshold of optical material by detection and phase changes and show that the technique realizes high sensitivity with different optical path measurements lower than 1 nm. Additionally, the quantitative information on the refractive index or surface modification of the samples under test that is provided by the system has been compared to classical metrology instruments used for laser damage or laser ablation characterization (an atomic force microscope, a differential interference contrast microscope, and an optical surface profiler). An accurate in-line measurement of the morphology of laser-ablated sites, from few nanometers to hundred microns in depth, is shown.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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