Optical diagnostics on helical flux compression generators

Andreas A. Neuber, James C. Dickens, H. Krompholz, Mark F.C. Schmidt, Jason Baird, Paul N. Worsey, Magne Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Explosively driven magnetic flux compression (MFC) has been object of research for more than three decades. Actual interest in the basic physical picture of flux compression has been heightened by a newly started Department of Defense (DoD) MultiUniversity Research Initiative. The emphasis is on helical flux compression generators comprising a hollow cylindrical metal liner filled with high explosives and at least one helical coil surrounding the liner. After the application of a seed current, magnetic flux is trapped and high current is generated by moving, i.e., expanding, the liner explosively along the winding of the helical coil. Several key factors involved in the temporal development can be addresses by optical diagnostics. 1) The uniformity of liner expansion is captured by framing camera photography and supplemented by laser illuminated high spatial and temporal resolution imaging. Also, X-ray flash photography is insensitive to possible image blur by shockwaves coming from the exploding liner. 2) The thermodynamic state of the shocked gas is assessed by spatially and temporally resolved emission spectroscopy. 3) The moving liner-coil contact point is a possible source of high electric losses and is preferentially monitored also by emission spectroscopy. Since optical access to the region between liner and coil is not always guaranteed, optical fibers can be used to extract light from the generator. The information so gained will give, together with detailed electrical diagnostics, more insight in the physical loss mechanisms involved in MFC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1440-1444
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Electroexplosive devices
  • Explosive generators
  • Optical diagnostic
  • Optical imaging
  • Optical spectroscopy
  • Shock waves


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