Self-Stabilizing Laser Sails Based on Optical Metasurfaces

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This article investigates the stability of "laser sail"-style spacecraft constructed from dielectric metasurfaces with areal densities <1 g/m(2). We show that the microscopic optical forces exerted on a metasurface by a high-power laser can be engineered to achieve passive self-stabilization, such that it is optically trapped inside the drive beam and self-corrects against angular and lateral perturbations. The metasurfaces we study consist of a patchwork of beam-steering elements that reflect light at different angles and efficiencies. These properties are varied across the area of the metasurface, and we use optical force modeling tools to explore the behavior of several metasurfaces with different scattering properties as they interact with beams that have different intensity profiles. Finally, we use full-wave numerical simulation tools to extract the actual optical forces that would be imparted on Si/ SiO2 metasurfaces consisting of more than 400 elements, and we compare those results to our analytical models. We find that, under first-order approximations, there are certain metasurface designs that can propel a "laser-sail"-type spacecraft in a stable manner.
Publisher
AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY
Issue Date
2019-06
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

ACS PHOTONICS, v.6, no.8, pp.2032 - 2040

ISSN
2330-4022
DOI
10.1021/acsphotonics.9b00484
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/267543
Appears in Collection
EE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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