Effects of deep wet etching in HF/HNO$_3$ and KOH solutions on the laser damage resistance and surface quality of fused silica optics at 351 nm

Abstract : We investigate the interest of deep wet etching with HF/HNO$_3$ or KOH solutions as a final step after polishing to improve fused silica optics laser damage resistance at the wavelength of 351 nm. This comparison is carried out on scratches engineered on high damage threshold polished fused silica optics. We evidence that both KOH and HF/HNO$_3$ solutions are efficient to passivate scratches and thus improve their damage threshold up to the level of the polished surface. The effect of these wet etchings on surface roughness and aspect is also studied. We show that KOH solution exhibit better overall surface quality that HF/HNO$_3$ solution in the tested conditions. Given the safety difficulties associated with the processing with HF, KOH solution appears as a pertinent alternative to HF deep wet etching.
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Mathilde Pfiffer, Philippe Cormont, Evelyne Fargin, Bruno Bousquet, Marc Dussauze, et al.. Effects of deep wet etching in HF/HNO$_3$ and KOH solutions on the laser damage resistance and surface quality of fused silica optics at 351 nm. Optics Express, Optical Society of America, 2017, 25, pp.4607-4619. ⟨10.1364/OE.25.004607⟩. ⟨cea-01622297⟩

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