This thesis discusses the application of Slab Coupled Optical Fiber Sensors (SCOS) in a railgun. The specific goal of these sensors is to create an electric field profile at a specific point in the gun as the armature passes. The thesis explores the theory that powers the railgun as well as the principles of the SCOS sensors. It also elaborates on the various noise sources found throughout the detection system and concludes with a summary of the various field tests that were performed throughout this project. There are many benefits to using a railgun over traditional weapons in the field. These benefits not only include both safety and cost, but also greater overall defense capabilities. Unfortunately, the velocity skin effect (VSE) causes the current railgun designs to have limited life span through wear on the rails. In order to develop superior railguns and railgun armatures, the accurate detection of the VSE through measuring the electric field is of great interest. We used a SCOS, a small directionally precise dielectric sensor, as a small sensing area is required to be able to measure the electric fields inside of the rail gun. The actual usage of the SCOS within the railgun produced an additional set of problems that are not commonly encountered in the lab. The chief amongst these was noise from strain, RF pickup, and phase noise. This thesis also reports various methods used to reduce each of these noise sources.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





optics, fiber optics, optical fiber sensors, slab coupled optical sensors, SCOS, electric field sensors, railgun