A sensitive pulsed top-hat beam thermal lens technique has been used to measure the nonlinear absorption coefficients of fused silica, CaF2, and MgF2 bulk materials, as well as LaF3/MgF2 layer pairs at 193 nm. The measurement values for the bulk materials are in agreement with the literature values. In case of LaF3/MgF2 layer pairs the absorption behavior of single MgF2 and LaF3 layers, (IL3H)(7), (3LIH)(7), and (LH)(20) LaF3/MgF2 multilayers, all deposited on CaF2 substrate. was evaluated. It was found that the nonlinear absorption coefficient of the LaF3/MgF2 multilayers was controlled by that of the LaF3 layers and was estimated to be approximately 4-7 x 10(-7) cm/W (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.