Development of a New Type of Laser Ignition System

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Mercerville, New Jersey
Project Term:
10/01/2014 - 09/30/2015

Technology Description:

Princeton Optronics will develop a low-cost, high-temperature capable laser ignition system which can be mounted directly on the engine heads of stationary natural gas engines, just like regular spark plugs are today. This will be done using a newly developed high-temperature Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) pump combined with a solid-state laser gain material that can operate at temperatures typically experienced on a stationary natural gas engine. The key innovations of this project will allow the laser pump and complete laser ignition system to deliver the required pulse energy output at the engine block temperature and create a solution that is entirely exchangeable with a conventional spark plug. This avoids the need for an expensive and complicated fiber optics system to deliver the laser energy to the engine’s combustion chamber from an off-board, cooled location. If successful, the high temperature laser ignition system will provide a reliable solution to extend the lean limit of combustion and increase the efficiency of stationary natural gas engines, resulting in significant fuel savings and emissions reductions.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Christopher Atkinson
Project Contact:
Dr. Robert van Leeuwen
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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