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Proceedings Paper

The development of a heterodyne velocimeter system for use in sub-microsecond time regimes
Author(s): M. D. Bowden; M. P. Maisey
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Paper Abstract

Recent advances over the last five years in high-speed digitizing oscilloscopes and high-bandwidth photodiodes, driven primarily by the telecommunications industry, have enabled the development of a new type of interferometer for measuring high velocities, such as those found in detonics experiments. The heterodyne velocimeter can be visualized as a fiber-based Michelson interferometer. The beam from a single-mode fiber laser at 1550 nm is passed through a circulator, acting to separate bi-directional light. The beam is then reflected via free-space optics from the surface of interest, and then focused back into the same fiber. This reflected light is mixed with an approximately equal amount of non-reflected light, and the resulting interference is recorded using a high-bandwidth photodiode and oscilloscope. In contrast to more traditional velocimetry techniques such as VISAR, only a single data channel is required per probe. The uses of heterodyne velocimetry have, to date, been primarily in the multi-microsecond time regime, i.e. explosively driven metal plates. In this paper, we present a four-channel, ultra-high bandwidth system designed for use in the sub-microsecond time regime, and present the results obtained from laser-driven flyer plates traveling in excess of 3 km s-1. We have developed analysis software suited to use in this time regime, where a relatively small displacement is recorded. The original heterodyne velocimeter relied on back-reflectance from the probe to obtain the non-reflected light. This limits both the flexibility of the system and the efficiency of the probes. We have overcome this issue by introducing a beam splitter into the system prior to the circulator. This allows the probing system to be designed for maximum efficiency, and we are then able to tune the non-reflected light on a shot-to-shot basis.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6662, Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing III, 66620B (13 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.734194
Show Author Affiliations
M. D. Bowden, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
M. P. Maisey, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6662:
Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing III
William J. Thomes; Fred M. Dickey, Editor(s)

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