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Journal of Directed Energy
Volume 2, Number 3
The papers listed below constitute Volume 2, Number 3 of the Journal of Directed Energy. Print copies of issues of the Journal of Directed Energy are available through the online store..
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Using Defocus to Improve Peak Irradiance for Air-to-Ground High-Energy Laser Weapons
Scott N. Long, J.O. Miller, Robert T. Brigantic, and Matthew E. Goda; Air Force Institute of Technology, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Air Force Research Laboratory
Chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL)-based weapon systems that operate near the ground will experience thermal blooming due
to atmospheric absorption if output power is sufficiently high. The thermal lens in the air-to-ground case is
predominantly in the far field of the optical system, which puts the problem outside the envelope for most classical
phase correction techniques. Focusing the laser beyond the target (defocus) in the air-to-ground regime is shown to
improve irradiance at the target and can be thought of as reducing the thermal blooming distortion number ND rather
than as phase correction. Improvement is shown in a baseline scenario presented and all variations from it are
explored. The Breaux ND is examined for potential use in a defocus scaling law, and a correction factor due to Smith
is proposed to address deficiencies. Optimal defocus settings and expected improvement are presented as a function of
Breaux ND, and a discussion of the interaction between turbulence and thermal blooming that may limit performance in
the air-to-ground case is given.
KEYWORDS: Chemical oxygen-iodine laser, High-energy laser, Strehl improvement, Thermal blooming
Estimates of Atmospheric Distortion Number for Nonlinear Refraction
J.R. Roadcap, P.J. McNicholl, R.R. Beland, and G.Y. Jumper; Boston College and Air Force Research Laboratory
A characteristic nondimensional distortion number Nd was derived in the 1970's that allows inference of the degree of
nonlinear refraction or thermal blooming asociated with an atmospheric laser path. For a continuous-wave (CW) laser
with a Gaussian-shaped beam, the distortion number is a function of several variables including laser power and
aperture size, optical wavelength, atmospheric absorption and extinction, index of refraction, temperature, air
density, and the air speed or flow transverse to the laser beam. Scenario-dependent calculations of atmospheric
distortion number Nd are developed for different geographic regions and seasons using the Air Force Research
Laboratory's global thermosonde database, the HITRAN molecular spectroscopic database, and global climatological
aerosol model extinction profiles. Tactical air-to-ground scenarios are described as a function of altitude, target
distance, and laser-to-target azimuth angle for the COIL wavelength (1.314 µm). The results are interpreted in light
of seasonal and geographical factors as well as path-integrated moisture.
KEYWORDS: Distortion number, Molecular absorption, Refraction, Thermal blooming
Solid-State Modulators for Directed Energy Applications
M. Kempkes, J. Casey, I. Roth, N. Butler, and M. Gaudreau; Diversified Technologies Inc.
Directed energy/impulse power (DE/IP) systems offer solutions for a wide range of emerging applications including sensors,
electronic countermeasures, clearing of improvised explosive devices and mines, and weapons. However, it is becoming
clear that the conventional electronic breakdown switches currently used in DE/IP systems are not well suited for the
demands of the future because of their limited reliability and adaptability. Recent developments at Diversified
Technologies, Inc. (DTI), in solid-state switch technology are yeilding significantly increased pulse energies and
speeds. Solid-state switches now approach the performance required for DE/IP applications and offer the added benefits
of inherent reliability, pulse flexibility, and operation at high pulse frequencies. In this paper, DTI will provide
an overview of these developments and describe how system designers can apply them to new DE/IP designs.
KEYWORDS: Modulator, Pulse power, Solid state
Compact AC-Link Converter: AC-DC Power Conditioning for Directed Energy Applications
Rudy Limpaecher, Rigo Rodriguez, and Bill Siegel; Science Applications International Corporation
A novel concept that utilizes an AC-Link (trademark) topology is presented for ac-dc power conditioning. It is applicable for charging
pulse-forming networks, dc loads with highly regulated voltage requirements, or other pulsed applications. The power
conditioner interfaces with any ac generator and produces less than 1% harmonics, therefore permitting the generator
to operate at full rated power, minimizing heating and eliminating the low-frequency transformers necessary for
isolation or voltage transformation. The AC-Link (trademark) power conditioner provides full galvanic isolation between the
generator and the load, and no transformer is required for a dc load with voltage requirements similar to the ac
supply voltage. For higher dc voltage applications, the power conditioner can be configured as an electronic
transformer. This system includes a single-phase, high-frequency transformer that is operated in the 20-kHz range.
This high-frequency operation reduces the transformer weight, volume, and losses to a minimum, yielding an overall
compact power conditioning system. The inverter is scalable to any power level using present-day power electric
components. The preliminary design of a 5-MW, 95-kV klystron power supply will be used as an illustration.
KEYWORDS: High voltage, Low harmonic distortion, Power converter, Solid state
Low Workfunction Surface Coatings for Dispenser Photocathodes in Radio Frequency Photoinjectors
Nathan A. Moody, Donald W. Feldman, Patrick G. O'Shea, Kevin L. Jensen, Joan E. Yater, Jonathan L. Shaw, and Anne M. Balter; University of Maryland and Naval Research Laboratory
Photocathodes are a critical component in photoinjectors for free-electron lasers (FELs) and other accelerator applications
requiring a high-current, low-emittance electron beam. An ideal photocathode would have high efficiency in the visible
range, a long operations lifetime in a typical accelerator vacuum environment, and prompt electron emission.
Efficiency is typically improved by adding a photosensitive, cesium-based compound to the cathode surface. Because
this layer is chemically active, however, it is vulnerable to evaporation and contamination, causing the cathode to
degrade with use. Reapplication of this surface layer requires operational downtime and motiviated the need for an in
situ rejuvenation technique that would prevent the cathode from being a significant failure mode of an FEL system.
This work determines the effect of surface cesium coverage on the efficincy of a metallic cathode and compares theory
and experiment as precursory work toward a despenser photocathode. A prototype multialkali dispense photocathode is
proposed, along with a measurement technique used to monitor its surface conditions during operation.
KEYWORDS: Dispenser photocathode, Free-electron laser, Photocathode, Quantum efficiency
Impulse Array Antenna Design Using Particle Swarm Optimization
Wade Brinkman and Michael A. Morgan, National Defence (Quebec) and Naval Postgraduate School
The particle swarm optimization algorithm is applied to the design of impulse dipole array antennas utilizing passive
straight-wire reflectors. The goal is to maximize the peak squared electric field strength at a specified location in
the near field of the antenna for various driving voltage waveforms. The algorithm relies on a rapid computational
engine for evaluation of currents and near fields that is based on numberical solution of the Hallen time-domain
integral equation. Convergence of the algorithm is shown with improvements in peak squared field exceeding 100%
compared to a standard near-field focus array employing elliptical reflector placement.
KEYWORDS: Impulse array, Near-field focus, Particle swarm optimization
Incoherent Combining of High-Power Fiber Lasers for Long-Range Directed Energy Applications
Phillip Sprangle, Joseph Penano, Bahman Hafizi, and Antonio Ting; Naval Research Laboratory
Coherent and incoherent fiber laser beam combining for long-range directed energy applications is discussed. We present a
configuration for incoherently combining fiber lasers that can be employed for these applications. Unlike coherent
beam combining approaches, incoherent combining does not require phase locking between the fiber lasers, and the
polarization of the individual lasers can be random. In addition, the linewidths of the fiber lasers can be large.
These relaxed requirements on the incoherent beam combining configuration allow for the use of recently developed
high-continuous-wave (CW) power (~2.5kW per fiber), single-mode (TEM00), high-quality (M2 ‹ 1.2) fiber lasers having
relatively large linewidths (?/?~1%). These high-power lasers cannot be used for coherent beam combining. The proposed
incoherent combining configuration consists of an array of fiber lasers in which the beams diffract to a spot size of
~4 cm onto individual collimating lenses. The Rayleigh length associated with each beam is ~5 km. The collimated beams
can be directed to a target at distances of more than 5 km by individually controlled steering mirrors that form the
beam director. We present parameters for an incoherently combined high-energy laser system that can deliver 100 kW of
CW power on a target of area 100 cm2 at a range of 5 km. The system has 49 fiber lasers and a beam director with
transverse dimension 60 x 60 cm. In principle, this configuration is scalable to higher CW powers. The effects of
atmospheric turbulence on the propagation efficiency are addressed for the incoherent beam combining configuration.
KEYWORDS: Atmospheric propagation, High-power fiber laser, Incoherent beam combining
Volume 2, Number 3, Journal of Directed Energy
Last updated: 12 October 2016