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Specifying a Capacitor for Directed Energy Applications

The modern battlefield is changing. Traditional weapons technologies have relied on the use of kinetic weapons and explosives to disable their targets. In recent years, there have been significant improvements in a wide variety of directed energy technologies including weapons, surveillance, and threat protection. These technologies keep warfighters safe and improve their ability to accurately execute their missions while minimizing collateral damage.

Directed energy applications are not just limited to the battlefield. There are several research projects that utilize high power lasers to study areas such as nuclear fusion, medical treatments and physics. Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems are increasingly used within the automotive industry, particularly on autonomous vehicles due to its ability to generate precise 3D mappings of its environment using lasers.

This whitepaper will provide a summary of the critical role capacitors play in directed energy systems and will highlight important criteria for a designer to consider when specifying a capacitor for use in a directed energy application.

The term “Directed Energy” covers a wide range of technologies such as High Power Microwave (HPM), Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), and LASER. There are several subsets of each of these directed energy technologies. While they are all different, they all do the same basic thing: they perform a task on a target with highly focused energy.


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