Laser initiation of the various explosive materials requires a wide variety of energy densities. With funding from
DARPA, Alfalight has developed a Surface-Emitting Distributed Feedback (SE-DFB) lasers. The technology allows a
single laser diode to replace many of today's more complex solid state lasers in LIO applications. The highest-recorded
continuous output power from a single emitter - 73 watts - is detailed along with peak pulsed powers exceeding 300
watts. Other beneficial properties such as wafer-level processing, surface output coupling and on-chip beam-shaping are
among the attributes of this type of laser.
Laser initiation of explosive material requires consistent achievement of specific optical power densities and extremely
high reliability under a wide variety of harsh environmental conditions. Ensuring successful and timely detonation
drives laser diode-based systems towards testing algorithms that far exceed the standard Telcordia GR-468
qualifications. As diode technology advances, options for increased power density and alternate system configurations
expand. An understanding of the basis of diode laser reliability in this application will be provided, along with key
optical system metrics for a variety of current and future LIO systems.