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Proceedings Paper

Laser initiation of energetic materials: a historical overview
Author(s): M. D. Bowden; M. Cheeseman; S. L. Knowles; R. C. Drake
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Paper Abstract

Laser initiation of energetic materials has been a topic of interest almost since the invention of the first laser in 1960. Since then, a wide range of lasers, and an even wider range of energetic materials, ranging from sensitive primary explosives such as lead azide, to very insensitive explosives such as Triamino Trinitrobenzene (TATB) have been investigated. With the continuous reduction in laser size, and increase in laser energies and powers, using lasers to initiate energetic materials is becoming easier and more practical to implement in a system environment. In this paper we examine the development of the concept of laser initiation, from its early days using large Ruby lasers, to the more modern use of Nd:YAG lasers. We collate and present here the open source literature published in this field in order to produce a concise and accurate historical overview of the research published to date, and make a prediction of future trends where possible. We also examine research presented in enabling technologies, such as laser-driven flyer plates and high-energy optical fibers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6662, Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing III, 666208 (13 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.734225
Show Author Affiliations
M. D. Bowden, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
M. Cheeseman, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
S. L. Knowles, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
R. C. Drake, 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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