New data on laser damage threshold

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At the Laser World of Photonics, Schott presented new data on the bulk laser damage threshold of various optical glasses, including viable alternatives to fused silica as lens material in industrial laser applications. The glasses tested are intended for use in laser material processing at wavelengths of 532 and 1064nm with pulse lengths in the nano- and picosecond range.

According to TechNavio’s latest report, the global laser market is predicted to reach US$10.40 billion by 2016. One of its main driving forces is the development of next-generation laser technology, providing a high-energy beam even at a high repetition rate in a short period of time.

In order to facilitate and optimise the optical design of these new systems, Schott has now examined the bulk laser resistance of its optical glasses that are best suited for high power applications.

'The laser durability of an optical system depends on the surface quality of the optical components. But just as important is the lens material, which needs to withstand laser beams and their reflections,' said Ralf Jedamzik, application manager at Schott.

'Fused silica has yet been the material of choice for high-power applications. However, it limits the optical design due to its low refractive index. Our new data on the bulk laser damage threshold of different optical glasses suggest interesting alternatives – with a broader variety of optical properties to enable more sophisticated designs.'

Schott tested the bulk laser damage threshold of various glass types covering a broad range of refractive indices and Abbe numbers. As a reference, Heraeus’ fused silica Suprasi CG was used. The tests were carried out at the Laser Zentrum Hannover, Germany, one of Europe’s leading research and development institutes in the field of laser technology. Schott cooperated with Qioptiq, to optimise its Linos F-Theta-Ronar lenses with respect to performance and cost.