Abstract

A passively stable laser-driven lightsail is described, which makes use of a spatially variant “bi-grating” sail with a mass (payload) attached to a boom (patent pending). A two-dimensional analytical model of the system, a linear stability analysis, and numerical solutions of the equations of motion are reported. The acceleration of the light sail along the beam path is found to depend on the grating parameters. We identify stability conditions that depend on the grating design, beam parameters, and boom length. The inclusion of damping is found to enhance the dynamic range of stability.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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