Abstract

A reliable method, combining a wet etch process and real-time damage event imaging during a raster scan laser damage test, has been developed to directly determine the most dangerous precursor inducing low-density laser damage at 355 nm in fused silica. It is revealed that 16% of laser damage sites were initiated at the place of the scratches, 49% initiated at the digs, and 35% initiated at invisible defects. The morphologies of dangerous scratches and digs were compared with those of moderate ones. It is found that local sharp variation at the edge, twist, or inside of a subsurface defect is the most dangerous laser damage precursor.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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