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In recent years, devices being developed for application systems have used laser beams that have high average power, high peak power, short pulse width, and short wavelength. Therefore, optical elements using such application systems require a high laser damage threshold. The laser damage threshold is provided by International Organization for Standardization 11254 (ISO11254). One of the measurement methods of the laser damage threshold provided by ISO11254 is an online method to measure the intensity of light scattering due to a laser damage trace. In this paper, we propose a measurement method for the laser damage threshold that realizes high sensitivity and high accuracy by using polarized light and lock-in detection. Since the scattering light with laser damage is modeled on the asperity of the optical element-surface as Mie particles (virtual Mie particles), we consider the intensity change of scattering light as a change in the radius of a virtual Mie particle. To evaluate this model, the laser damage trace on the optical element-surface was observed by an atomic force microscopy(AFM). Based on the observed AFM image, we analyzed the frequency domain by the Fourier transform, and estimated the dominant virtual Mie particle radius in the AFMmeasurement area. In addition, we measured the laser damage threshold. The light source was the fifth generation of a Nd:YAG laser (λ =213nm). The specifications of the laser were: repetition frequency 10Hz, pulse width 4ns, linear type polarization, laser pulse energy 4mJ, and laser transverse mode TEM00. The laser specifications were a repetition frequency, pulse width, pulse energy and beam diameter of 10Hz, 4ns, 4mJ and 13mm, respectively. The laser damage thresholds of an aluminum coatedmirror and a dielectric multi-layer mirror designed at a wavelength of 213nm as measured by this method were 0.684 J/cm2 and 0.998J/cm2, respectively. These laser damage thresholds were 1/4 the laser damage thresholds measured based on ISO11254. We concluded that this evaluation of laser damage enabled us to detect laser damage traces that were smaller than the diffraction limitation.


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