Low-Power Laser Ignition of an Antenna-Type Secondary Energetic Copper Complex: Synthesis, Characterization, Evaluation, and Ignition Mechanism Studies

Daniel Shem-Tov, Natan Petrutik, Maximilian H.H. Wurzenberger, Melanie Meincke, Eli Flaxer, Boris Tumanskii, Lei Zhang, Roman Dobrovetsky, Sharly Fleischer*, Thomas M. Klapötke*, Jörg Stierstorfer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, development of new energetic compounds and formulations, suitable for ignition with relatively low-power lasers, is a highly active and competitive field of research. The main goal of these efforts is focused on achieving and providing much safer solutions for various detonator and initiator systems. In this work, we prepared, characterized, and studied thermal and ignition properties of a new laser-ignitable compound, based on the 5,6-bis(ethylnitroamino)-N′2,N′3-dihydroxypyrazine-2,3-bis(carboximidamide) (DS3) proligand. This new energetic proligand was prepared in three steps, starting with 5,6-bis(ethylamino)-pyrazine-2,3-dicarbonitrile. Crystallography studies of the DS3-derived Cu(II) complex (DS4) revealed a unique stacked antenna-type structure of the latter compound. DS4 has an exothermal temperature of 154.5 °C and was calculated to exhibit a velocity of detonation of 6.36 km·s-1 and a detonation pressure of 15.21 GPa. DS4 showed properties of a secondary explosive, having sensitivity to impact, friction, and electrostatic discharge of 8 J, 360 N, and 12 mJ, respectively. In order to study the mechanism of ignition by a laser (using a diode laser, 915 nm), we conducted a set of experiments that enabled us to characterize a photothermal ignition mechanism. Furthermore, we found that a single pulse, with a time duration of 1 ms and with a total energy of 4.6 mJ, was sufficient for achieving a consistent and full ignition of DS4. Dual-pulse experiments, with variable time intervals between the laser pulses, showed that DS4 undergoes ignition via a photothermal mechanism. Finally, calculating the chemical mechanism of the formation of the complex DS4 and modeling its anhydrous and hydrated crystal structures (density functional theory calculations using Gaussian and HASEM software) allowed us to pinpoint a more precise location of water molecules in experimental crystallographic data. These results suggest that DS4 has potential for further development to a higher technology readiness level and for integration into small-size safe detonator systems as for many civil, aerospace, and defense applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10909-10922
Number of pages14
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2021


FundersFunder number
Office of Naval ResearchN00014-19-1-2078
Strategic Environmental Research and Development ProgramWP19-1287
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


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