Interaction of High-Powered Focused Laser Beam with Exploding Wire

  • Victor E. Scherrer
  • Philip W. Davis
  • Matthew J. Hillsman
  • Dick Manser


A combination of the high electric field intensity attainable with a focused laser beam and the high electric current capability of an electrical pulsed power system is an efficient technique for heating small diameter wires. Measurements have been made on the combined electrical—laser heating of 25-μ-diameter, 6-mm-long bare copper wires. Electrical heating was provided by a 0.05-μF, 20-kV capacitor, discharging through the wire with a frequency of 3 MHz. A ruby laser, generating a single 10-nsec pulse with a peak power of 40 MW, was used for optical heating. With the laser beam focused in a 1000-μ-diameter spot on the wire, a power density of 5.1 × 109 W/cm2, corresponding to an average electric field of 1.4 × 106 V/cm, was measured. The focused laser beam produces a high degree of ionization in the wire material during the “discharge pause.”


Electrical Heating Laser Heating Focus Laser Beam Wire Material Wire Explosion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor E. Scherrer
    • 1
  • Philip W. Davis
    • 1
  • Matthew J. Hillsman
    • 1
  • Dick Manser
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Electronics Research CenterCambridgeUSA

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