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Proceedings Paper

Microshell®-Tipped Optical Fibers As Sensors Of High-Pressure Pulses In Adverse Environments
Author(s): Robert F. Benjamin; Frederick J. Mayer; Robert L. Maynard
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Paper Abstract

We have developed and used an optical-fiber sensor for detecting the arrival of strong pressure pulses. The sensor consists of an optical fiber, tipped with a gas-filled microballoon. They have been used successfully in adverse environments including explosives, ballistics and electromagnetic pulses (EMP). The sensor produces a bright optical pulse caused by the rapid shock-heating of a gas, typically argon or xenon, which is con-fined in the spherical glass or plastic microballoon. The light pulse is transmitted via the optical fiber to a photo detector, usually a streak camera or photomultiplier tube. The microballoon optical sensor (called an optical "pin" by analogy to standard electri-cal "pins"), was originally developed for diagnosing an explosive, pulsed-power generator. Optical pins are required due to the EMP. The optical pins are economical arrival-time indicators because many channels can be recorded by one streak camera. The generator tests and related experiments, involving projectile velocities and detonation velocities of several kilometers per sec have demonstrated the usefulness of the sensors in explosives and ballistics applications. We have also measured the sensitivity of the optical pins to slowly-moving projectiles and found that a 200 m/sec projectile impacting the microballoon sensor produces a flash having a risetime less than 100 ns and a pulse duration (FWHM) of less than 300 ns. The technical and cost advantages of this optical pin make it potentially useful for many electromagnetic, explosive, and ballistics applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 October 1984
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 0506, Fiber Optics in Adverse Environments II, (15 October 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.944913
Show Author Affiliations
Robert F. Benjamin, Los Alamos National Laboratory (United States)
Frederick J. Mayer, KMS Fusion, Inc. (United States)
Robert L. Maynard, KMS Fusion, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0506:
Fiber Optics in Adverse Environments II
Roger A. Greenwell, Editor(s)

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