skip to main content
DOE Patents title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Reflector for efficient coupling of a laser beam to air or other fluids

Abstract

A reflector array is disclosed herein that provides a controlled region or regions of plasma breakdowns from a laser beam produced at a remotely-based laser source. The plasma may be applied to produce thrust to propel a spacecraft, or to diagnose a laser beam, or to produce shockwaves. The spacecraft propulsion system comprises a reflector array attached to the vehicle. The reflector array comprises a plurality of reflectors spaced apart on a reflective surface, with each reflector acting as an independent focusing mirror. The reflectors are spaced closely together to form a continuous or partially-continuous surface. The reflector array may be formed from a sheet of reflective material, such as copper or aluminum. In operation, a beam of electromagnetic energy, such as a laser beam, is directed at the reflectors which focus the reflected electromagnetic energy at a plurality of regions off the surface. The energy concentrated in the focal region causes a breakdown of the air or other fluid in the focal region, creating a plasma. Electromagnetic energy is absorbed in the plasma and it grows in volume, compressing and heating the adjacent fluid thereby providing thrust. Laser pulses may be applied repetitively. After each such thrust pulse, freshmore » air can be introduced next to the surface either laterally, or through a perforated surface. If air or some other gas or vapor is supplied, for example from a tank carried on board a vehicle, this invention may also be used to provide thrust in a vacuum environment.« less

Inventors:
 [1]
  1. (Pleasanton, CA)
Issue Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
868483
Patent Number(s):
5152135
Assignee:
United States of America as represented by United States (Washington, DC) LLNL
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Patent
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
reflector; efficient; coupling; laser; beam; air; fluids; array; disclosed; provides; controlled; region; regions; plasma; breakdowns; produced; remotely-based; source; applied; produce; thrust; propel; spacecraft; diagnose; shockwaves; propulsion; comprises; attached; vehicle; plurality; reflectors; spaced; apart; reflective; surface; acting; independent; focusing; mirror; closely; form; continuous; partially-continuous; formed; sheet; material; copper; aluminum; operation; electromagnetic; energy; directed; focus; reflected; concentrated; focal; causes; breakdown; fluid; creating; absorbed; grows; volume; compressing; heating; adjacent; providing; pulses; repetitively; pulse; fresh; introduced; laterally; perforated; gas; vapor; supplied; example; tank; carried; board; provide; vacuum; environment; reflective material; focusing mirror; reflector array; laser pulses; laser pulse; laser beam; spaced apart; electromagnetic energy; laser source; reflective surface; vacuum environment; magnetic energy; array comprises; spaced close; spaced closely; focal region; beam produced; continuous surface; efficient coupling; /60/

Citation Formats

Kare, Jordin T. Reflector for efficient coupling of a laser beam to air or other fluids. United States: N. p., 1992. Web.
Kare, Jordin T. Reflector for efficient coupling of a laser beam to air or other fluids. United States.
Kare, Jordin T. Wed . "Reflector for efficient coupling of a laser beam to air or other fluids". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/868483.
@article{osti_868483,
title = {Reflector for efficient coupling of a laser beam to air or other fluids},
author = {Kare, Jordin T.},
abstractNote = {A reflector array is disclosed herein that provides a controlled region or regions of plasma breakdowns from a laser beam produced at a remotely-based laser source. The plasma may be applied to produce thrust to propel a spacecraft, or to diagnose a laser beam, or to produce shockwaves. The spacecraft propulsion system comprises a reflector array attached to the vehicle. The reflector array comprises a plurality of reflectors spaced apart on a reflective surface, with each reflector acting as an independent focusing mirror. The reflectors are spaced closely together to form a continuous or partially-continuous surface. The reflector array may be formed from a sheet of reflective material, such as copper or aluminum. In operation, a beam of electromagnetic energy, such as a laser beam, is directed at the reflectors which focus the reflected electromagnetic energy at a plurality of regions off the surface. The energy concentrated in the focal region causes a breakdown of the air or other fluid in the focal region, creating a plasma. Electromagnetic energy is absorbed in the plasma and it grows in volume, compressing and heating the adjacent fluid thereby providing thrust. Laser pulses may be applied repetitively. After each such thrust pulse, fresh air can be introduced next to the surface either laterally, or through a perforated surface. If air or some other gas or vapor is supplied, for example from a tank carried on board a vehicle, this invention may also be used to provide thrust in a vacuum environment.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1992},
month = {1}
}

Patent:

Save / Share: