J D Mullett, G Dearden, RDodd, A T Shenton, G Triantos and K G Watkins.
Abstract: Various types of optical fibres have been investigated and compared for delivering high power laser beams to an optical plug (comprising of lenses and an optical window) for the application of laser-induced ignition of gasoline and air mixtures in an automotive internal combustion engine. Three main types of optical fibre were examined: multi-mode step index silica, sapphire and photonic crystal. The fibres had various core sizes ranging from 35 to 600 μm and numerical apertures between 0.046 and 0.64. A Q-switched Nd:YAG laser operating at the fundamental wavelength 1064 nm with a pulse length of 15 ns was used for the testing. Fibre output beam properties, including beam mode quality, output divergence, transmission losses, beam energy thresholds and effects of engine vibration were investigated. These fibre beam properties were compared with known beam parameters for laser ignition to assess the suitability of such fibres for a laser ignition system. Online fibre delivery laser ignition engine tests were performed with the most suitable fibres, which showed that combustion could be achieved with this system despite a relatively large percentage of misfires.