Highly transparent optical materials are necessary for many applications of laser radiation in the UV spectral region. With low-intensity laser light, adequate transparency is usually obtainable by simply employing wide band-gap materials such as fused silica. However, with intense (~1-GW/cm2) UV laser pulses, transparency is maintained only if the nonlinear absorption strength is also small. Previous work1,2 has shown the two-photon absorption coefficient in pure fused silica to be very small (<0.0005 cm/GW), underwriting the suitability of fused silica for many UV applications.
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