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Invited Lecture

From science to applications: shielding effects and material re-deposition used for laser propulsion in space

Wednesday (24.06.2020)
14:30 - 15:10 Room 1
Part of:

The ablation depth produced by double-pulse bursts as a function of the inter-pulse delay (Fig. 1(a)). Based on shadowgraphic experiments, it is shown that the material ablated by the first laser pulse is shielding the second pulse of a burst. In addition, the re-deposition of material takes place, which significantly counteracts the overall ablation process. Adding a third laser pulse to the burst again leads to ablation of material. The ablation cloud of the third laser pulse contains more material than the one generated by a single laser pulse.

Furthermore, high-precision weighing experiments were performed to determine the thrust generated during processing copper with ultrafast lasers using single pulses, double-pulse, and triple-pulse bursts are presented with the goal to find the optimum processing strategy for laser propulsion thrusters. The material initially ablated by the first laser pulse and re-deposited by the second laser pulse of a burst leads to a significant increase of thrust. Hence, double pulses are a suitable method to propel vessels in space with enhanced thrust values while at the same time saving propellant material, see Fig. 1(b).

Additional Authors:
  • Daniel J. Förster
    University of Stuttgart
  • Dr. Rudolf Weber
    University of Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Graf
    University of Stuttgart


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