OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 37, Iss. 36 — Dec. 20, 1998
  • pp: 8362–8370

Measuring the absolute absorptance of optical laser components

Uwe Willamowski, Detlev Ristau, and Eberhard Welsch  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 37, Issue 36, pp. 8362-8370 (1998)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1241 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The precise determination of the absolute absorptance of a laser component is of high scientific and commercial importance. Our intention is to demonstrate that laser calorimetry can be a reliable and sensitive characterization tool for this purpose. Furthermore, the limitations of laser calorimetry are discussed and suggestions for possible revisions of the ISO 11551 (International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland) standard are made. Finally, laser calorimetry is compared with photothermal deflection methods with respect to their practicability in different fields of laser optic characterization.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(120.3940) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Metrology
(120.4800) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Optical standards and testing

Original Manuscript: April 9, 1998
Published: December 20, 1998

Uwe Willamowski, Detlev Ristau, and Eberhard Welsch, "Measuring the absolute absorptance of optical laser components," Appl. Opt. 37, 8362-8370 (1998)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. D. A. Pinnow, T. Rich, “Development of a calorimetric method for making precision optical absorption measurements,” Appl. Opt. 12, 984–992 (1973). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. H. B. Rosenstock, D. A. Gregory, J. A. Harrington, “Infrared bulk and surface absorption by nearly transparent crystals,” Appl. Opt. 15, 2075–2078 (1976). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. In the following, only that part of absorbed laser power/energy that is transformed into heat is considered, and other possible (but typically less relevant) absorption channels are disregarded.
  4. A. C. Tam, “Photoacoustic and photothermal spectroscopy,” in ICALEO: International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics (Laser Institute of America, Orlando, Fla., 1985), pp. 121–133.
  5. E. Welsch, D. Ristau, “Photothermal measurements on optical thin films,” Appl. Opt. 34, 7239–7253 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. “ISO 11551: test method for absorptance of optical laser components,” (International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997).
  7. D. Ristau, U. Willamowski, H. Welling, W. Plass, A. Giesen, “Evaluation of a round-robin test on optical absorption at 10.6 μm,” in Third International Workshop on Laser Beam and Optics Characterization, A. Geisen, M. Morin, eds., Proc. SPIE2870, 502–514 (1996). [CrossRef]
  8. E. Eva, K. R. Mann, “High-resolution calorimetric absorption measurements on optical components for excimer lasers,” in Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 1996, H. E. Bennet, A. H. Guenther, M. R. Kozlowsk, B. E. Newnam, M. J. Soileau, eds., Proc. SPIE2966, 48–55 (1997). [CrossRef]
  9. E. Welsch, “Photothermal surface deformation technique—a goal for nondestructive evaluation in thin-film optics,” J. Mod. Opt. 38, 2159–2176 (1991). [CrossRef]
  10. M. Reichling, H. Grönbeck, “Harmonic heat flow in isotropic layered systems and its use for thin-film thermal conductivity measurements,” J. Appl. Phys. 75, 1914–1922 (1994). [CrossRef]
  11. M. Reichling, E. Welsch, E. Matthias, “Thin-film characterization and photothermal absolute calibration measurements using high-frequency electric currents,” in Specification and Measurement of Optical Systems, L. R. Baker, ed., Proc. SPIE1781, 205–213 (1993). [CrossRef]
  12. M. Reichling, A. Bodemann, N. Kaiser, “Defect induced laser damage in oxide multilayer coatings for 248 nm,” Thin Solid Films 320, 363–278 (1997).
  13. M. Reichling, in Experimental Methods in the Physical Sciences, J. C. Miller, R. F. Haglund, eds. (Academic, San Diego, Calif., 1998), Vol. 30, Chap. 12, pp. 573–624.
  14. N. M. Amer, “New approaches to photothermal spectroscopy,” J. Phys. (Paris) Colloq. 44, 185–198 (1983). [CrossRef]
  15. R. E. Hummel, K. H. Guenther, Thin Films for Optical Coatings (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., 1995), Vol. 1, Chap. 9.
  16. A. C. Boccara, D. Fournier, J. Badoz, “Thermo-optical spectroscopy: detection by the ‘mirage effect’” Appl. Phys. Lett. 36, 130–132 (1980). [CrossRef]
  17. W. B. Jackson, N. M. Amer, A. C. Boccara, D. Fournier, “Photothermal deflection spectroscopy and detection,” Appl. Opt. 20, 1333–1344 (1981). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. J. M. Bennett, E. Pelletier, G. Albrand, J. P. Borgogno, B. Lazarides, C. K. Carniglia, R. A. Schmell, T. H. Allen, T. Tuttle-Hart, K. H. Guenther, A. Saxer, “Comparison of the properties of titanium dioxide films prepared by various techniques,” Appl. Opt. 28, 3303–3317 (1988). [CrossRef]
  19. V. Loriette, L. Pinard, C. Boccara, J.-M. Mackowski, “Multilayer coating characterization for interferometric gravitational waves detection,” in Optical Interference Coatings, F. Abeles, ed., Proc. SPIE2253, 1031–1039 (1994). [CrossRef]
  20. M. Commandré, P. Roche, “Characterization of absorption by photothermal deflection,” in Thin Films for Optical Systems, Opt. Eng. 49, 329–365 (1995).
  21. P. Zimmermann, D. Ristau, E. Welsch, G. Langer, M. Reichling, “Potentiality of the photothermal surface-displacement technique for precisely performed absorption measurement of optical coatings,” Appl. Phys. A 58, 377–383 (1994). [CrossRef]
  22. M. Commandré, P. Roche, “Characterization of optical coatings by photothermal deflection,” Appl. Opt. 35, 5021–5043 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. E. Welsch, K. Ettrich, H. Blaschke, P. Thomsen-Schmidt, D. Schaefer, N. Kaiser, “Investigation of the absorption induced damage in ultraviolet dielectric thin films,” Opt. Eng. 36, 504–514 (1997). [CrossRef]
  24. R. T. Swimm, Y. Xiao, M. Bass, “Calorimetric study of optical absorption of suprasil w-1 fused quart at visible, near-IR, and near-UV wavelengths,” Appl. Opt. 24, 322–323 (1985). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. H. W. Becker, V. Scheuer, T. T. Tschudi, “Low-power laser calorimetry with high resolution,” in Optical Interference Coatings, F. Abeles, ed., Proc. SPIE2253, 1152–1161 (1994). [CrossRef]
  26. E. Eva, K. R. Mann, “Nonlinear absorption phenomena in optical materials for the UV-spectral range,” in Third International Workshop on Laser Beam and Optics Characterization, A. Geisen, M. Morin, eds., Proc. SPIE2870, 476–482 (1996). [CrossRef]
  27. U. Willamowski, T. Gross, D. Ristau, H. Welling, “Calorimetric measurement of optical absorption and transmissivity with sub-ppm sensitivity,” in Specification, Production, and Testing of Optical Components and Systems, A. E. Gee, J. Houee, eds., Proc. SPIE2775, 148–158 (1996). [CrossRef]
  28. A. C. Boccara, D. Fournier, W. Jackson, N. M. Amer, “Sensitive photothermal deflection technique for measuring absorption in optically thin media,” Opt. Lett. 5, 377–379 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  29. A simple method for performing such calibrations is to deposit a high-absorbing coating (e.g., soot or graphite) on a reference sample of identical thermal conductivity, heat capacity, and geometry and test the absorptance with an attenuated laser beam. While high absorptance values can be easily determined with good accuracy (e.g., by spectral photometric methods or by testing transmissivity and scatter), the determination of the attenuation factor is often more difficult, and nonlinearities of the attenuators must be avoided.
  30. W. A. McGahan, K. Cole, “Solutions of the heat equation in multilayers for photothermal deflection experiments,” J. Appl. Phys. 72, 1362–1373 (1992). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited