Hot spot generation in energetic materials created by long-wavelength infrared radiation

Ming Wei Chen, Sizhu You, Kenneth S Suslick, Dana D. Dlott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hot spots produced by long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) radiation in an energetic material, crystalline RDX (1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine), were studied by thermal-imaging microscopy. The LWIR source was a CO2 laser operating in the 28-30THz range. Hot spot generation was studied using relatively low intensity (∼100W cm-2), long-duration (450 ms) LWIR pulses. The hot spots could be produced repeatedly in individual RDX crystals, to investigate the fundamental mechanisms of hot spot generation by LWIR, since the peak hot-spot temperatures were kept to ∼30K above ambient. Hot spots were generated preferentially beneath RDX crystal planes making oblique angles with the LWIR beam. Surprisingly, hot spots were more prominent when the LWIR wavelength was tuned to be weakly absorbed (absorption depth ∼30μm) than when the LWIR wavelength was strongly absorbed (absorption depth ∼5μm). This unexpected effect was explained using a model that accounts for LWIR refraction and RDX thermal conduction. The weakly absorbed LWIR is slightly focused underneath the oblique crystal planes, and it penetrates the RDX crystals more deeply, increasing the likelihood of irradiating RDX defect inclusions that are able to strongly absorb or internally focus the LWIR beam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number061907
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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