Laser triggered spark gap using fiber optic transmission
Harjes, Henry Charles
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The use of an optical fiber in a laser triggering system is described. The fiber transmits a high power ruby laser pulse which triggers a high voltage spark gap. The spark gap is a gas switch on a water dielectric Blumlein generator which is pulse charged by a three stage Marx bank. Typical operating parameters for the spark gap are: 2 cm gap, 2700 Torr pressure, Ar-N^ gas mixture, and a charging voltage of 200 kV. The single strand, 1 mm, quartz, optical fiber is selected specifically for high power transmission capability. Laser pulses of 4 MW are coupled into and transmitted by the fiber with no observed damage. The overall optical system transmission efficiency is 62%. The triggering performance of the system is excellent in that switching delays of less than 10 ns and subnanosecond jitters are measured.