Photonic laser thruster produces 35 µN of thrust

May 1, 2007
Last year, Young K. Bae, president and chief scientist of the Bae Institute (Tustin, CA), proposed a photon-tether-formation-flight (PTFF) system that was designed to enable intersatellite nanometer-scale distance accuracy at maximum distances on the order of tens of kilometers for satellites flying in formation.

Last year, Young K. Bae, president and chief scientist of the Bae Institute (Tustin, CA), proposed a photon-tether-formation-flight (PTFF) system that was designed to enable intersatellite nanometer-scale distance accuracy at maximum distances on the order of tens of kilometers for satellites flying in formation (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/259915). Now, Bae has demonstrated the first photonic laser thruster (PLT) that generates amplified thrust between two spacecraft by bouncing photons many thousands of times between two mirrors.

Click here to enlarge image

The patent-pending PLT was built and tested using off-the-shelf components. With an amplification factor of 3000, the photon thrust generated from the egg-size laser head in the PLT prototype is equivalent to the thrust that can currently only be generated by orders-of-magnitude larger and heavier industrial or weapons-grade lasers. By integrating PLT and space tethers, PTFF can potentially enable the creation of large telescopes and synthetic apertures in space for high-resolution Earth or space monitoring. The maximum photon thrust was demonstrated to be 35 µN, which is already close to that required for many envisioned space missions. Contact Young K. Bae at [email protected].

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Precision Motion Control for Sample Manipulation in Ultra-High Resolution Tomography

April 10, 2024
Learn the critical items that designers and engineers must consider when attempting to achieve reliable ultra-high resolution tomography results here!

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!