The initiation of pyrotechnic substances by a laser light has been studied for more than 30 years. But
until recently the use of this technology for defence applications encountered three main technical
problems: the volume and the mass of lasers, the linear loss of optical fibres and their possible
damage caused by the transport of strong laser power. Recent technical progress performed in the
field of electrical and optical devices are now very promising for future opto-pyrotechnic functional
The objective of this paper is to present a demonstrator developed in order to initiate in a
synchronous way four optical detonators and to measure the dispersion of their functioning times. It
includes four compact Q-switched Nd:Cr:GSGG solid laser sources, pumped by flash lamp (energy
≈110mJ, FWHM ≈8.5 ns), two ultra-fast electro-optical selectors (based on RTP crystals) used to
steer the laser beam and six optical fibre lines to transmit the laser pulses to the optical detonators.
The set-up integrates also complex control and safety systems, as well as cameras allowing an
optimal alignment of optical fibres.
Experiments led us to initiate in a synchronous way four detonators with a mean scattering of 50 ns.
The perspectives in this domain of initiation concern mainly the miniaturization and the hardening to
the environments of electrical and optical components.
We present LIBS experimental results that demonstrate the use of a newly compact, versatile pulsed laser source in
material analysis in view of research aiming at the development of portable LIBS instrumentation. LIBS qualitative
analyses were performed on various samples and objects, and spectra were recorded in gated and non-gated modes. The
latter is important because of advantages arising from size and cost reduction when using simple, compact spectrograph-CCD detection systems over the standard ICCD-based configurations. The new Nd<sup>3+</sup>:YAG laser source exhibited very
reliable performance in terms of laser pulse repeatability, autonomy and interface. Indeed, it can deliver a 45 mJ for 4.5 ns
pulse and work at 1 Hz. Having the ability to work in double-pulse mode, it provided versatility in the measurements
leading to increased LIBS signal intensities, improved the signal noise ratio and stabilized spectra. The first test results are
encouraging and demonstrate that this new laser is suitable for integration in compact, portable and low cost LIBS sensors
with a wide spectrum of materials analysis applications.