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Laser Ignition - A Twinning Collaboration for Frontier Research in Eco-Friendly Fuel-Saving Combustion

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LASIG-TWIN (Laser Ignition - A Twinning Collaboration for Frontier Research in Eco-Friendly Fuel-Saving Combustion)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

Combining regenerative and classical fossil energy sources is a major issue to be addressed in order to find solutions to the challenges of modern societies with respect to technology advances and low-carbon footprint. The fossil energy sources will remain on the tableau due to their energy density and the combustion engines mobility for cars, power trains and aviation, energy cogeneration or space applications. However, only efficient use of fuel will lead to a reduced carbon footprint. Thus, the performance improvement of present internal combustion engines is an important task, this being motivated by the human concern on the environmental impact of the ongoing use of such engines. Laser ignition (LI) could be a way to efficiently use the fossil fuel, as it presents some advantages in comparison with classical ignition by electrical spark plugs. Still, a number of technological challenges need to be addressed before ignition by laser spark plugs can be adopted.

Within the project LASIG-TWIN, the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics (INFLPR) and its Laboratory of Solid-State Quantum Electronics (ECS) in Magurele, Romania collaborated with institutions from Germany, the UK and France, aiming research, technical innovation and industrial use in the field of LI. The project was focussed on several main targets: a) To build Teams of Excellence in order to derive new ideas and tackle challenges related to laser ignition; b) To organize Staff Exchanges (Training) and Expert Visits (Teaming) that will help raise the INFLPR-ECS research profile, as well the one of the partner institutes; c) To organize Summers Schools and Workshops in conjunction with industry and academic institutions; d) To held the world-renowned Laser Ignition Conference in Romania, in 2017. All these activities were performed and a roadmap for future collaboration has been established. Thus, an opportunity was provided for INFLPR to increase its scientific excellence and innovation capacity in the field of LI or related scientific and industrial applications.
Five workshops with topics related to applications of LI were held. The workshop “History, Status and Future of Laser Ignited Combustion Engines” took place Sept. 29-30, 2016 in Magurele, Romania. Analysis of LI processes was the subject of the workshop “Laser Ignition Measurement and Characterization,” held Nov. 10-11, 2016 in Bayreuth, Germany. The use of LI in various engines was discussed at the workshop “Engine Applications of Laser Ignition,” Jan. 08-09, 2018, Liverpool, the UK. Challenges encountered when a laser spark plug has to be built were addressed during the workshop “Assembly and Packaging of Optical and Laser-Optical Systems for Harsh Environments,” Sept. 28, 2018, Jena, Germany. The advantages of LI for space applications were discussed at the workshop “Laser Ignition for Aeronautical / Spatial Applications”, Nov. 29, 2018, Paris, France. In addition, opportunities for future collaborations between project partners and a road-mapping for technological development in the field of LI were the subject of the sixth workshop, “Roadmapping Conclusions,” Dec. 14, 2018, Magurele.

Three teams were set-up; the first was between INFLPR-ECS and researchers from Univ. of Bayreuth, dealing with “Standardization for Science to Application transfer in LI Measurement and Characterization”. The second team, between INFLPR-ECS and Fraunhofer-IOF institute, Jena, Germany, discussed “Integration Approaches for Harsh Environmental suitable Laser Systems”. A third team, between INFLPR-ECS and people from CNRS, Paris and Univ. of Liverpool was named “Frontier Applications for LI Systems”. Six meetings were held for each above given team, in which knowledge about LI has been discussed and shared.

Scientists from INFLPR-ECS learned about the competencies of a partner during the training events. The first training, “Optical Measurement Methodologies for Induced Plasmas, Ignition and Combustion Processes” was held Oct. 10-21, 2016 at Univ. of Bayreuth. CNRS at Université Paris-Saclay, Paris was the host of the training “Aeronautical Engines Test Stands”, Oct. 08-16, 2018. The training “Laser Engineering Techniques & Laser Processes” took place at Univ. of Liverpool, Nov. 18-22, 2018. Two laboratory training, during Oct. 22-26, 2018 and Dec. 03-07, 2018 were held at Fraunhofer-IOF, Jena, dealing with “Packing and Bonding Technologies for Harsh Environment” for LI applications.

Two Summer Schools were organized in Romania. Laser Ignition Summer School 2017, was held July 19-22, 2017 in Brasov; it was attended by 40 students. Lessons were given by 9 speakers and a session poster with 36 student presentations took place. The second event, Laser Ignition Summer School 2018, was held July 02-06, 2018 in Sibiu, with 48. A number of 10 speakers have given oral talks whereas the students participated with 45 posters.

The Laser Ignition Conference 2017 (LIC’17) was held June 20-23, 2017 in Bucharest, Romania (and for the first time in Europe). The event was organized with the help of prestigious the Optical Society - OSA society and it was supported by several international and national scientific organizations. LIC ’17 conference was attended by 70 persons from 14 countries (Romania, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, USA, Austria, India or China).
The project LASIG-TWIN aimed for creating impact with respect to INFLPR’s science and innovation capacity in the field of LI and in conjunction with the consortium partners. The impact can be described in scientific, publicity and visibility terms.

The team activity contributed to the publication of five peer-review articles; another manuscript is in the peer-review process. One paper has a high impact factor (IF) of 4.679 (Photonics Research, 2016), the highest among all papers published by at INFLPR-ECS since 2009. Another paper published in 2018, in Progress in Quantum Electronics, had IF=10.733 (the best in the ECS Laboratory history). 13 presentations were given at international meetings; the INFLPR-ECS had first authors at one plenary lesson, two oral presentations and four posters.

The laboratory trainings helped the INFLPR-ECS scientists to learn competencies of a partner. Knowledge about the characterization of energy transfer from a laser pulse to plasma induced by a breakdown in air was acquired; fundamental aspects of laser-induced plasma in different fuel mixtures were learned; aspects about techniques used to join laser crystals with their housing bodies were understood. Using a design proposed by researchers from INFLPR-ECS, a laser spark-plug device was assembled with Fraunhofer-IOF technologies.

More institutions from Romania become aware of LI and its applications. Collaboration in the field of LI for automobile engine started in 2017 between INFLPR-ECS and Univ. Politehnica of Bucharest. Activity on LI at INFLPR-ECS was advertised in the EU Research magazine (Spring 2018 edition) as well as in the “top story” of the Jan.-Feb. 2019 issue of Market Watch - Intelligent Management magazine from Romania. Dissemination on LI took place through the workshops, the Laser Ignition Summer Schools and the Laser Ignition Conference 2017 attended by researchers from Europe, USA and Asia. Thus, visibility of the work performed at INFLPR-ECS was improved, while the roadmapping strategy is expected to support further research in the field of laser ignition laser.
Workshop 4, January 08-09, 2018, University of Liverpool, UK; Group photo.
Training 3, CNRS, Paris, France; Group photo, October 15, 2018.
Team 2 meeting, Fraunhofer IOF, Jena, Germany; Group photo, June 26, 2016.
Workshop 6, December 14, 2018, INFLPR, Magurele, Romania; Group photo.
The LASIG-TWIN team during the kickoff meeting, January 21, 2016, Magurele, Romania; Visit at CETAL.
Laser Ignition Summer School 2017, Brasov, Romania; Group photo, July 21, 2017.
Workshop 2, November 10-11, 2016, Bayreuth University, Germany; Group photo.
Laser Ignition Conference 2017, Bucharest, Romania; Group photo, June 22, 2017.
Team 3 meeting, University of Liverpool, UK; Group photo, January 20, 2017.
Training 1, Bayreuth University, Germany; Group photo, October 20, 2016.
Training 4, Fraunhofer IOF, Jena, Germany; Group photo, December 03, 2018.
Workshop 3, September 26, 2018, Fraunhofer IOF, Jena, Germany; Group photo.
Team 3 meeting, CNRS, Paris, France; Group photo, October 17, 2017.
Laser Ignition Summer School 2018, Sibiu, Romania; Group photo, July 03, 2018.