Laser-induced damage on optical surfaces is often associated with absorbing contaminants introduced by the polishing process. This is particularly the case for UV optics. In the present study, secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) was used to measure depth profiles of finishing-process contamination on fused silica surfaces. Contaminating detected include the major polishing compound components, Al present largely because of the use of Al2O3 in the final cleaning process, and other metals incorporated during the polishing step or earlier grinding steps. Depth profile data typically showed an exponential decay of contaminant concentration to a depth of 100-200 nm. This depth is consistent with a polishing redeposition layers formed during the chemo-mechanical polishing of fused silica. Peak contaminant levels are typically in the 10-10 pm range, except for Al which often exceeds 1000 ppm.© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.