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Proceedings Paper

A high-energy fibre-to-fibre connection for direct optical initiation systems
Author(s): M. D. Bowden; S. L. Knowles
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Paper Abstract

Direct Optical Initiation (DOI), uses a moderate energy laser to shock initiate secondary explosives, via either a flyer plate or exploding metal foil. DOI offers significant performance and safety advantages over conventional electrical initiation. Optical fibres are used to transport the optical energy from the laser to the explosive device. A DOI system comprises of a laser, one or more optical fibres, and one or more laser detonators. Realisation of a DOI system is greatly eased by the use of fibre-to-fibre connections, allowing for easy integration into bulkheads or other interfaces, such as firing tanks and environmental test chambers. Fibres to fibre connectors capable of transmitting the required energy densities are not commercially available. Energy densities in the region of 35 J cm-2 are required for initiation, above the damage threshold of typical optical fibres. Laser-induced damage is typically caused by laser absorption at the input face due to imperfections in the surface polishing. To successfully transmit energy densities for DOI, a high quality fibre end face finish is required. A fibre-to-fibre connection utilizing micro-lens array injection into a large-core, tapered optical fibre, a hermetic fibre bulkhead feedthrough, and a disposable test fibre has been developed. This permits easy connection of test detonators or components, with the complex free-space to fibre injection simplified to a single operation. The damage threshold and transmission losses of the fibre-to-fibre connection have been established for each interface.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 December 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8530, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2012, 853016 (4 December 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.978076
Show Author Affiliations
M. D. Bowden, AWE plc (United Kingdom)
S. L. Knowles, AWE plc (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8530:
Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2012
Gregory J. Exarhos; Vitaly E. Gruzdev; Joseph A. Menapace; Detlev Ristau; M J Soileau, Editor(s)

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