The effect of high dose rate transient gamma radiation on high-energy optical fibers

A. Akinci, M. D. Bowden, M. C. Cheeseman, S. L. Knowles, D. C. Meister, S. N. Pecak, K. Simmons Potter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


High power laser systems have a number of uses in a variety of scientific and defense applications, for example laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) or laser-triggered switches. In general, high power optical fibers are used to deliver the laser energy from the source to the target in preference to free space beams. In certain cases, such as nuclear reactors, these optical systems are expected to operate in ionizing radiation environments. In this paper, a variety of modern, currently available commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) optical fiber designs have been assessed for successful operation in the transient gamma radiation environment produced by the HERMES III accelerator at Sandia National Laboratories, USA. The performance of these fibers was evaluated for high (~1 MW) and low (<1 W) optical power transmission during high dose rate, high total dose gamma irradiation. A significant reduction in low optical power transmission to 32% of maximum was observed for low OH- content fibers, and 35% of maximum for high OH- fibers. The high OH- fibers were observed to recover to 80% transmission within 1 μs and 100% transmission within 1 ms. High optical power transmission losses followed generally similar trends to the low optical power transmission losses, though evidence for an optical power dependent recovery was observed. For 10-20 mJ, 15 ns laser pulses, around 46% was transmitted coincident with the radiation pulse, recovering to 70% transmission within 40 ns of the radiation pulse. All fibers were observed to completely recover within a few minutes for high optical powers. High optical power densities in excess of 1 GW/cm2 were successfully transmitted during the period of highest loss without any observed damage to the optical fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing V
StatePublished - 2009
EventOptical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 5 2009Aug 5 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Gamma radiation
  • Hermes iii
  • High optical power
  • Optical fibers / fibres
  • Transient radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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