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Applications of Optical Fibers used in Defense Operations

XSOF™ is an ITAR-registered company and creates custom fiber optic solutions for a range of defense and military application. Our two most common applications in the Defense market are LIDAR and LIEM.


LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. However, a better understanding of it is Laser Radar, Laser Scanning, or Laser Ranging. And it can do more than that, as it is also possible to use the technique to measure and determine the type and concentration of molecules from a distance. No matter which of these specific applications, LIDAR can create a topographic or 3D positional map by measuring the time of flight of a light pulse from its emission to when it is received or detected back from whatever reflected it. That time yields a distance or range, and as stated, can yield the molecular makeup, which can be done millions of times per second. As the emitter and detector move, they point the emitter in different directions, at different features of the landscape. The data then can be represented as slices across the area or feature. In this way, you can scan an area at a distance and create a feature or topography, including the constituency by assembling the slices into an area or feature map with 3D characteristics.

As above, LIDAR can include a spectral (wavelength) component or discriminator, to build an image map that may include spectral reflectivity content. This in turn allows the user to identify constituents or make-up of the features that are reflecting that specific wavelength. For example, here is a ranging and spectral LIDAR image of a cityscape providing feature discrimination as well as pollution measurements:

LIDAR Cityscape

Laser Initiation of Energetic Materials (LIEM)

Decades ago, researchers discovered that laser pulses reliably and safely initiate what is referred to as ‘energetic materials’, including several types of explosives and related materials. A single pulse could be distributed to multiple points of ignition or initiation, which allow them to be reliably timed and synchronized through a properly developed, and easily customizable fiber optic harness. Laser initiators are also very safe, having low vulnerability to electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic pulses. This research laid the groundwork for fiber optic use in a wide range of applications.

At XSOF™, we’ve developed several fiber optic assemblies tailored for unique use in Rocket Stage Separation, Canopy Detachment and Ejection Seat Firing, Flight Termination (self-destruction), Engine Ignition and many other applications where the reliable and safe ignition or initiation of dangerous materials is necessary.

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XSOF™ designs and develops custom solutions. We would be happy to discuss your fiber optic requirements.


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About Us

XSOF™ is a team of scientists, technologists, engineers, and business professionals all dedicated to manufacturing innovative fiber assemblies and developing custom solutions for a wide range of applications. We bring decades of experience to craft the perfect resolution to any challenge our customers bring.