Elliott Lyon, Zheng Kuang, Hua Cheng, Vincent Page, Tom Shenton and Geoff Dearden
This paper reports on a technique demonstrating for the first time successful multi-point laser-induced spark generation, which is variable in three dimensions and derived from a single laser beam. Previous work on laser ignition of internal combustion engines found that simultaneously igniting in more than one location resulted in more stable and faster combustion – a key potential advantage over conventional spark ignition. However, previous approaches could only generate secondary foci at fixed locations. The work reported here is an experimental technique for multi-point laser ignition, in which several sparks with arbitrary spatial location in three dimensions are created by variable diffraction of a pulsed single laser beam source and transmission through an optical plug. The diffractive multi-beam arrays and patterns are generated using a spatial light modulator on which computer generated holograms are displayed. A gratings and lenses algorithm is used to accurately modulate the phase of the input laser beam and create multi-beam output. The underpinning theory, experimental arrangement and results obtained are presented and discussed.