For ordnance system and testing applications in which safety is paramount, laser detonators and firing systems are strong candidates. Both low-power (1 W) and high-power (~1 MW) laser-driven explosive devices provide safety against stray current and electrostatic discharges, including lightning. This article addresses only one class of high-power laser-driven detonators that provide prompt detonation - the laser-driven analog of electrical exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonatorsm which we call a "laser EBW." Coupling of laser power into a plasma and then to the explosive powder will be described. Drawing upon current initiatives within DOE laboratories, this talk will emphasize similarities between high-power laser detonators and high-power electrical detonators in terms of firing power requirements and development of deonation. In explosive testing applications, laser detonators provide separation of noisy electrical firing systems from diagnostic sensors that may be embedded in an experimental assembly. Laser detonators can be made without any metallic content, and that is desirable for radiography experiments. Feasibility of reliable transmission of a firing pulse through optical fibers is a key element in applications for missile ordnance, warhead firing, and other mobile systems. The preparation and characterization of fibers, and their capabilities and limitations are also discussed briefly.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing
4 August 2005 | San Diego, California, United States