Laser-induced damage threshold measurements were performed on homogeneous and multilayer dielectrics and gold-coated optics at 1053 and 526 nm for pulse durations τ ranging from 140 fs to 1 ns. Gold coatings were found, both experimentally and theoretically, to be limited to 0.6 J/cm<sup>2</sup> in the subpicosecond range for 1053-nm pulses. In dielectrics, we find qualitative differences in the morphology of damage and a departure from the diffusion-dominated τ<sup>½</sup> scaling that indicate that damage results from plasma formation and ablation for τ ≤ 10 ps and from conventional heating and melting for τ > 50 ps. A theoretical model based on electron production by multiphoton ionization, joule heating, and collisional (avalanche) ionization is in quantitative agreement with both the pulse-width and the wavelength scaling of experimental results.
© 1996 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article