Turbojet Laser Ignition System
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-021
Topic Title: Turbojet Laser Ignition System
Proposal No.: N141-021-0119
Firm: Physical Optics Corporation
Applied Technologies Division
1845 West 205th Street
Torrance, California 90501
Contact: Rodion Tikhoplav
Phone: (310) 320-3088
Web Site: www.poc.com
Abstract: To address the Navy's need for a reliable laser-based turbine engine ignition system, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Turbojet Laser Ignition (TuLI) system. It is based on integration of existing laser optics technologies into a compact form factor, generating and delivering into the combustion chamber optical energy greater than that of electrode-based systems, igniting the intake charge, generating the same power, while minimizing wear on the igniter components. The innovation in compact optical igniters enables delivery of more energy to more efficiently ignite the intake charge, while reducing required maintenance by replacing conventional electrodes of finite lifecycle, with optical elements. Therefore, the TuLI system eliminates various finite-lifecycle durability issues of electrode-based spark igniters such as cracked insulators, electrode contaminant buildup, and electrode erosion, giving the TuLI system >4000 hr of service due to the much longer life expectancy of optical components, directly increased system durability as the Navy requires. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of the TuLI system by creating a laser igniter in a compact form factor. In Phase II, POC plans to develop an ignition system prototype to conduct small-scale live-testing to prove the mission worthiness of the TuLI system.
Benefits: The proposed technology will extend Navy leadership in turbojet engine development once the project is successful and carried over into Phases II and III. Novel laser-based igniter technology will offer exciting possibilities for future aircraft gas turbine engines since it greatly reduces their maintenance requirements. This technology will also significantly impact a number of government and commercial aerospace programs. The resulting product will be a technology that can be used in a wide range of applications, including power generation, marine, automotive, and other ground or air vehicle applications.