SPIE Optics & Photonics 2007. Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fu ing an! Firing II, Aug.

2"#$0, San %iego, &A.

Practical internal com'ustion engine laser spar( plug

development
)ichael *. )+ers, *ohn %. )+ers, ,aoping -uo, &heng.in /ang, &hristopher 0. 1ar!+ 2igre, Inc., 300 )arshlan! 0oa!, 1ilton 1ea! Islan!, S& 24425, 6SA 2igreinc7cs.com, Ph8 "9$#5"3#:"00, Fa.8 "9$#5"3#9::4
Abstract

Fun!amental stu!ies on laser ignition ha;e 'een performe! '+ the 6S %epartment of Energ+ un!er A0ES <A!;ance! 0eciprocating Engines S+stems= an! '+ the &alifornia Energ+ &ommission un!er A0I&E <A!;ance! 0eciprocating Internal &om'ustion Engine=. These an! other >or(s ha;e reporte! consi!era'le increases in fuel efficiencies along >ith su'stantial re!uctions in green#house gas emissions >hen emplo+ing laser spar( ign ition. Practical commercial applications of this technolog+ re?uire lo> cost high pea( po>er lasers. The lasers must 'e small, rugge! an! a'le to pro;i!e sta'le laser 'eam output operation un!er a!;erse mechanical an! en;ironmental con!itions. @e> %PSS <%io!e Pumpe! Soli! State= lasers appear to meet these re?uirements. In this >or( >e pro;i! e an e;aluation of 1ESP <1igh Efficienc+ Si!e Pumpe!= %PSS laser !esign an! performance >ith regar! to its application as a practical laser spar( plug for use in internal com'ustion engines.

Keywords: Laser spark plug, Diode pumped solid state laser, Advanced reciprocating internal combustion engine, A!;ance! reciprocating engines s+stems, 1igh efficienc+ si!e pumpe! laser, @!8-lass laser, @!8/Alaser, A#s>itche! laser.

1. Introduction
The operation of internal com'ustion engines >ith lean gas#air mi.tures, high c+lin!er hea! pressure an! plasma spar( ignition has 'een sho>n to increase fuel efficiencies an! re!uce green#house gas emissions '+ significant amounts. A!;ance! reciprocating engine research an! !e;elopment programs such as A0I&E an! A0ES ha;e reporte! fuel efficienc+ increases of greater than 9:B an! @O.#emission re!uctions of more than an or!er of magnitu!e >hen compare! to stan!ar!
spar(#gap spar( plugs C 3, 2,$D . The A0ES#'ase! engines are use! for generating electricit+. The+ are comprise! of 35# an! 20#

c+lin!er configurations, operating at 3200 rpmE30 1 , 3:00 rpmE32.: 1 , 3"00 rpmE3: 1 , >ith electrical po>er generation
ratings up to 2.3 )ega>atts C$D.

The use of laser ignition to impro;e gas engine performance >as initiall+ !emonstrate! '+ *. %. %ale in 347" C9D.

1o>e;er, >ith ;er+ fe> e.ceptions, >or( in this area has for the last 20F +ears 'een limite! to la'orator+ e.perimentation emplo+ing large, e.pensi;e an! relati;el+ complicate! lasers an! laser 'eam !eli;er+ s+stems. )ore recentl+, researchers at -E#*en'acher, )itsu'ishi 1ea;+ In!ustries, To+ota, @ational Energ+ Technolog+
Ga' an! Argonne @ational Ga' ha;e o'taine! an! Eor 'uilt smaller high pea( po>er laser spar( p lugs C :, 5D . 6nli(e

man+ earlier la'orator+ laser s+stems, these smaller lasers are no> mounte! !irectl+ onto the engine c+lin!er hea! so as to fire the laser 'eam !irectl+ into the cham'er. This arrangement allo>s the laser to 'ecome a !irect replacement for the tra!itional high ;oltage electrical spar(#gap plug. Further re!uctions in laser si e, price an! comple.it+ >ill help the laser spar( plug 'ecome a commercial realit+ an! a ;ia'le co mpetitor to the tra!itional high ;oltage spar(#gap plug.

imatel+ K379.i!ing a transparent 'ul(hea! seal on high pressure com'ustion cham'ers such as gas engine c+lin!er hea!s an! the 'reeches of 3::mm ho>it ers C 7.)GIS <.ost /Auto0 Laser cost less t%an 14)) eac% Ta'le 3 # Gaser spar( plug cost & performance re?uirements The cost . mounte! !irectl+ on to the 'reech of large cannons.000 per +ear C30 D.elopment of an economicall+ . This translates into cost sa. &A. 0eplacement of a stan!ar! spar( plug >ith a laser spar( plug pro. The !io!e lifetime is the limiting factor in the laser lifetime.00Ehr in fuel consumption.er+ small lo> cost single emitter laser !io!es to significantl+ re!uce the laser spar( plug component cost. Je ma+ also en.er+ s+stems C4D.er+ s+stem. This spar( plug cost anal+sis in!icates that laser lifetime is a (e+ issue >ith regar! to the !e.00Ehr e?ual to appro.en an! relia'le metho! of pro. $ times per +ear >ith an estimate! 300) pulse lifetime. "D .eness an! !epen!a'ilit+ of !irect fire laser ignition !esigns. an! a sapphire >in!o>Elens !eli.ings of appro.tu. A0ES an! A0I&E researchers are reaching the same conclusions a'out the attracti. )an+ .e o. 2"#$0.000 <35 . -)) million s%ots ( better . $ec%anical Laser and mounting must be %ardened against s%ock and vibration &nvironmental Laser s%ould per'orm over a large temperature range eak ower Laser s%ould provide megawatts raw beam output Average ower 1(laser per cylinder re#uires 1)*+ 'or 12))rpm engine operation Li'etime 1)) million s%ots . K5:. Fu ing an! Firing II.er the last 20 +ears pro.alues sho>n for the natural gas engine laser spar( plug are 'ase! upon the estimate! operational costs of an "00 2ilo>att 35#c+lin!er Jau(esha engine operating at 3200rpm >ith 35 lasers <one for each c+lin!er=. .ision smaller an! less costl+ laser spar( plugs for use in common automo'ile an! truc( engines C 33D .ost /A"&!0 Laser cost less t%an 12. .i!es an estimate! 90B increase in fuel efficienc+. the laser spar( plug re?uires K95. San %iego. Aug. At 3200 rpm the laser operates 29 hours a !a+.SPIE Optics & Photonics 2007.ersion of this t+pe of laser is sho>n in figure 3 C 32D .000 per +ear. An e+e#safe er'ium glass . ractical Laser !parkplug "e#uirements The simplest an ! least costl+ laser ignition !esign architecture >oul! consist of a compact high pea( po>er laser transmitter hea!. ha.en to 'e more relia'le than fi'er optic laser 'eam !eli. $5: !a+s a +ear at 30 1 <3200 rpmE2 stro(esE 50secEmin= for a total of appro.))) eac% /1))$ pulse li'e 3 break even0 . Gaser replacement cost <materials onl+= is estimate! at K399. %io!e laser pumps are the most costl+ element emplo+e! in tra!itional si!e an! en! pumpe! %PSS Gasers. In these laser applications the laser >in!o> Hself cleaningI or H'urning freeI effect is >ell (no>n C5D. 2. good. Estimate! 'asic cost an! performance re?uirements for a practical laser spar( plug are liste! in ta'le 3.imatel+ K:54. 6n!er these con!itions. The sapphire >in!o> is a >ell pro. K$000 each= . Optical Technologies for Arming. This is a laser a'lation effect >here ignition resi!ue that collects on the >in!o> surface is 'lo>n free an! clear of the optical aperture >ith each laser pulse.imatel+ $3:) pulses per +ear.ia'le <rea! practical= laser spar( plug. Safing.)GIS. These applications ma+ ma(e use of .reech )ount Gaser Ignition S+stem= lasers. The natural gas fuel consumption cost estimation for this engine is 'ase! upon K30)).

i!e 'roa! pump 'an! >i!ths allo>ing them to tra.ironmental con!itions. Fig. The mil#spec calls for shoc( an! . Aug. Other e.i'ration an! limite! shoc(.i'ration testing in e. 3:D . )ilitar+ lasers are !esigne! for use un!er a!.2 &nvironmental "e#uirements Gasers an! optical instrumentation !esigne! for out!oor use are t+picall+ hermiticall+ seale! 'ac(fille! >ith !r+ inert gas.SPIE Optics & Photonics 2007. A t+pical specification for !io!e >a. This can 'e especiall+ trou'lesome in @!8/A. .e pro!ucts C3$D.)GIS an! )2#$57 ha. Testing to shoc( an! .i'ration con!itions.i'ration test specifications for engine mount automoti. It appears that militar+ stan!ar! test specifications are tougher than the . 2"#$0. Figure 2 illustrates the !ifference in pump 'an! >i!th an! ho> it affects the thermal sta'ilit+ of neo!+mium !ope! cr+stal an! glass host lasers.$.ali!ate the !ura'ilit+ an! !esign life of the laser spar( plug.erse through #$0 to F:0 o& mil spec temperature operating range >ithout the nee! for !io!e thermal con!itioning. Optical Technologies for Arming.cess of 3000 gOs C 39. The 1ESP lasers are !esigne! >ith an e. It appears that large stationar+ A0ES engines >ill mo st li(el+ su'Mect the laser spar( plug to su'stantial long term .2. %PSS lasers are most sensiti. 1umi!it+#metho! :07. Ni'ration#metho! :39.e re?uirements are limite! to less than 3: gOs. San %iego.e >ithstoo! shoc( an! .elength !rift >ith temperature is 0.i'ration fre?uenc+ testing at 20 to 90 gOs >hile the automoti.os(eleton optical 'ench an! to compl+ >ith militar+ en.ironmental stan!ar! )IG#ST%#"30. &A. Fu ing an! Firing II.i'ration specifications for engine mounte! pro!ucts >ill help to .an! other cr+stal host %PSS lasers as their pump 'an! >i!th ten!s to 'e narro>.erse en. Safing.2.i'ration compliance of ran!om .elength changes >ith temperature.e to en . Acceleration#)etho! :3$.1 $ec%anical "e#uirements Gaser spar( plug !esigns must perform un!er engine mount shoc( an! . -lass host %PSS lasers pro.$ an! Shoc(#metho! :35.ironmental temperature fluctuations as the !io!e pump >a. 3 L Er8-lass laser 2ilo>att class mil#spec high pea( po>er !io!e pumpe! 2.2 :nmE o&.$.os(eleton optical 'ench lasers such as the . This inclu!es Altitu!e#metho! :00. 2.

imum performance o. %ecreasing the laserOs thermal con!itioning re?uirements ma(es the laser !esign less complicate! an! less e. the re?uire! laser pulse pea( po>er le.an! @!8-lass pump 'an!s The i!eal laser spar( plug re?uires ma. )ega>att <ra> 'eam= laser pulse po>er !ensities are rea!il+ focuse! to form a plasma spar( at !istances of 20 to :0mm using a single lens. Jith a multiple lens focusing s+stem it is plausi'le that one coul! relia'l+ proMect a laser spar( into a high pressure c+lin!er hea! u tili ing lo>er 2ilo>att class pulse po>er !ensities. el+ high. Fig.e means of intra#ca. Aug.e A#s>itch. Simple optics ma+ 'e use! to focus a A#s>itche! laser pulse an! 'rea(!o>n air if sufficient pea( po>er is containe! >ithin the laser pu lse.e high pea( po>er laser !e. Safing. &A. As the engine c+lin!er hea! pressure increases. 2.er large temperature ranges >ith minimum thermal con!itioning. The net result of pulse train operation is a longer sustaine! plasma containing higher energ+. 2"#$0. 1igh pea( po>er pulses are o'taine! from a laser ' + spoiling the A#factor of the resonator ca.pensi.ices than alternati. )ore complicate! lens s+stems ma+ 'e emplo+e! to focus the laser spar( at longer !istances. Formation of a plasma or Hlaser spar(I in free space air is not !ifficult if +ou start >ith )ega>att class <nanosecon! pulse >i!th # milliMoule energ+ le.el= laser pulses. For neo!+mium lasers the pulses are t+picall+ separate! '+ a fe> 30Os of microsecon!s.i!es for smaller.it+.it+ mo!ulation.pan!.el+ A#s>itche! laser contains a satura'le a'sor'er or passi.e !io!e !rift range for @!8/A.e to 'u il! an! main tain .I The first pulse of a pulse train initiates the plasma an! successi. 2 L Effecti. San %iego.el for air 'rea(!o>n !ecreases.e A#s>itche! lasers also allo>s for generation of a multip le laser pulse output or Hpulse train. A passi. simpler an! less e. Optical Technologies for Arming.e pulses fee! more energ+ into the plasma causing the plasma to e. This passi.2 eak ower "e#uirements The pea( po>er re?uirements for the laser spar( are relati. The su'stantial increase in plasma energ+ >ith pulse train operation is illustrate! in figure $. Passi. .pensi.SPIE Optics & Photonics 2007. Fu ing an! Firing II.e A#s>itching metho! pro.

erage po>er re?uirement for the laser spar( plug of sa+ appro.e cooling !esigns an! the use of lo>er !io!e pump amperage settings. 2. Fig.5 Average ower "e#uirements The a. &A. These mega>att class laser !e. For !io!e pumpe! neo!+mium lasers pumping at P "00nm an! lasing at 3000nm the ?uantum !efect <P200nm= is relati.el+ mo!est.els >e are rea!il+ a'le to generate high milliMoule le.ements an! life testing is currentl+ un!er>a+. Gifetime testing of pre#pro!uction 1ESP laser !e.eillance an! !etection s+stems is currentl+ un!er>a+.erage po>er re?uirements for a laser spar( plug are relati.. Further impro.el+ small an! the ?uantum efficienc+ high.isting state#of#the#art. Figure 9 illustrates impro. smaller.ement in laser life. Aug. This pro.elope! core technolog+ for a ne> generation of micro#lasers C35D .i!es us >ith an a. San %iego. $ L Increase in laser plasma in!uce! line spectra signal strength for 3.els >ith minimal thermal con!itioning re?uirements.e con!uction coole! pac(ages <patents pen!ing= to support long !io!e lifetime performance at high po>er le. 2igre !e.SPIE Optics & Photonics 2007. A four stro(e engine operating at ma.pensi.50=. 2"#$0.ements inclu!e implementation of uni?ue con!ucti. Optical Technologies for Arming. These impro.ices !esigne! for applications in e+e#safe laser sur.Li'etime 6 .ati.imatel+ 30 Jatts.ices utili e a uni?ue pumping architecture that pro.imatel+ 3#*oule times 301 e?ual to appro.e than the e. .imum of 3200 rpm re?uires an ignition spar( 30 times per secon! or 301 <3200rpmE2. Jith for e. Safing.ample 3#*ouleEpulse electrical !io!e pumping le.ost. Fu ing an! Firing II.els of A#s>itche! energ +.ices an or!er of magnitu!e lighter. These 1igh Efficienc+ Si!e Pumpe! <1ESP= %PSS lasers utili e a ne> generation athermal high#gain laser glass material an! inno.i!es a foun!ation for compact relia'le high po>erEhigh gain laser !e. 2 an! $#pulse train operation 2. 7ew $icro(Laser Designs Jith fun!ing support from %A0PA. more efficient an! less e.