Abstract

Milli-Joule, femtosecond laser pulses have been used to propel microbeads for the first time. The microbeads of three different materials (iron, glass, and polystyrene) are used, weighting from 0.84 mg to 1.4 mg with a diameter range of 0.7–1.1 mm. Experimental parameters such as focused beam spot diameter, pulse energy, and pulse width are carefully varied to investigate their respective influences on the specific ablative laser propulsion. It is found that both the momentum coupling efficiency and the overall energy conversion efficiency from light energy to kinetic energy are greater for shorter laser pulses. A typical value of the momentum coupling efficiency of 5.0 dyne/W for iron beads is obtained. It is also evident that for metallic and non-metallic microbeads the momentum coupling efficiency has different variation tendencies versus the focused beam spot diameter.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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References

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AIAA J.

A. V. Pakhomov, and D. A. Gregory, �??Ablative laser propulsion: an old concept revisited,�?? AIAA Journal 38, 725-727 (2000).
[CrossRef]

Astronautics & Aeronautics

A. Kantrowitz, �??Propulsion to orbit by ground-based lasers,�?? Astronautics & Aeronautics (A/A) 10, 74-76 (1972).

J Phys. B: At. Mol. Phys.

G. J. Pert, �??Model calculations of XUV gain in rapidly expanding cylindrical plasmas II,�?? J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Phys. 12, 2067-2079 (1979).
[CrossRef]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. B

J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Phys.

G. J. Pert, �??Model calculations of XUV gain in rapidly expanding cylindrical plasmas,�?? J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Phys. 9, 3301-3315 (1976).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Commun.

G. J. Pert, and S. A. Ramsden, �??Population inversion in plasmas produced by picosecond laser pulses,�?? Opt. Commun. 11, 270-273 (1974).
[CrossRef]

Phys. Fluids

W. J. Fader, �??Hydrodynamic model of a spherical plasma produced by Q-spoiled laser irradiation of a solid particle,�?? Phys. Fluids 11, 2200-2208 (1968).
[CrossRef]

A. V. Farnsworth, �??Power-driven and adiabatic expansions into vacuum,�?? Phys. Fluids 23, 1496-1500 (1980).
[CrossRef]

M. A. Treu, J. R. Albritton, and E. A. Williams, �??Fast ion production by suprathermal electrons in laser fusion plasmas,�?? Phys. Fluids 24, 1885-1893 (1981).
[CrossRef]

Phys. Rev. Lett.

O. L. Landen, D. G. Stearns, and E. M. Campbell, �??Measurement of the expansion of picosecond laser-produced plasmas using resonance absorption profile spectroscopy,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett. 63, 1475-1478 (1989).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Physica Sinica

Y. Cang, W. Wang, and J. Zhang, �??Research of the dynamic process of the interaction between ultra-short laser pulse and solid-density plasma,�?? Acta Physica Sinica 50, 1742-1746 (2001) (in Chinese)

Other

Y. H. Yan, and M. L. Zhong, High Power Laser Process and Application (Tianjin Science and Technology Press, Tianjin, 1994) (in Chinese).

J. L. Xu, and S. X. Jin, Plasma physics (Nuclear Energy Press, Beijing, 1981) (in Chinese).

D. Darling, �??The encyclopedia of astrobiology, astronomy, and spaceflight,�?? <a href="http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/L/laserprop.html">http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/L/laserprop.html</a>.

A. V. Pakhomov, and D. A. Gregory, �??Ablative laser propulsion: an advanced concept for space transportation,�?? Young Faculty Research Proceedings, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, 63-72 (2000).

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Figures (11)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Experimental setup of femtosecond laser propulsion of microbead(s), h=152 mm.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Flying distance S of a microbead as a function of laser beam spot size d for three different materials (The single pulse energy is 0.94 mJ and the pulse duration is 47 fs, M2 =1.5).

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Momentum coupling efficiency Cm as a function of laser beam spot diameter d obtained for microbeads made of three different materials (The single pulse energy is 0.94 mJ and the pulse duration is 47 fs, M2 =1.5)

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Energy conversion efficiency η as a function of laser beam spot diameter d for three different types of microbeads (The single pulse energy is 0.94 mJ and the pulse duration is 47 fs, M2 =1.5)

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Flying distance S as a function of single pulse energy E for iron beads (The laser pulse duration is 47 fs and the focal length of lens B is 10 cm.)

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

Momentum coupling efficiency Cm as a function of single pulse energy E for iron beads (The laser pulse duration is 47 fs and the focal length of lens B is 10 cm.)

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

Energy conversion efficiency η as a function of single pulse energy E for iron beads (The pulse duration is 47 fs and the focal length of lens B is 10 cm.)

Fig 8.
Fig 8.

Flying distance S as a function of laser pulse duration Δt for iron beads (The single pulse energy is 1.20 mJ and the focal length of lens B is 10 cm.)

Fig 9.
Fig 9.

Momentum coupling efficiency Cm as a function of laser pulse duration Δt for iron beads (The single pulse energy is 1.20 mJ and the focal length of lens B is 10 cm.)

Fig 10.
Fig 10.

Energy conversion efficiency η as a function of laser pulse duration Δt for iron beads (The single pulse energy is 1.20 mJ and the focal length of lens B is 10 cm.)

Fig 11.
Fig 11.

Fitting curve of the electron temperature at the end of laser pulse heating (Te0 in keV.) versus the incident laser pulse intensity (I in 1016W/cm2)

Tables (2)

Tables Icon

Table 1. Average size and weight of microbeads used in fs laser propulsion

Tables Icon

Table 2. Estimated electron temperature in iron for different laser pulse intensities

Equations (8)

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d = 2 ( λ π w ) f M 2
v = Cs = ( γ Z 0 T e 0 M i ) 1 2
T e 0 = C t E 4 9 Δ t 2 9
V 0 10 π d 2 L s 4
L s = C ω pe
ω pe = ( n e e 2 m e ε 0 ) 1 2
v = 3 Cs
T e 0 I 1.8405

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