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Numerical Simulations on Laser-Ablative Micropropulsion with Short and Ultrashort Laser Pulses

Scharring, Stefan and Lorbeer, Raoul-Amadeus and Eckel, Hans-Albert (2016) Numerical Simulations on Laser-Ablative Micropropulsion with Short and Ultrashort Laser Pulses. Transactions of the Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 14 (ists30), pp. 69-75. Aerospace Technology Japan. doi: 10.2322/tastj.14.Pb_69. ISSN 0549-3811.

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Official URL: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tastj/14/ists30/14_Pb_69/_article


Aiming for the generation of high-precision thrust in the µN range, focused high-intensity laser pulses are used employing the recoil of the jet of the ablated material. Whereas a single laser pulse yields an extremely low impulse bit in the range of several nNs, a broad thrust range can be accessed by the variation of the laser pulse repetition rate up to several hundreds of kilohertz. A detailed laser parameter study is carried out for aluminum and gold as propellant varying the pulse length from 100 fs to 10 ns and the fluence from 0.09 to 23.8 J/cm^2. Two different regimes of thruster operation with respect to laser pulse length and specific impulse are identified. Irrespective of the pulse length regime, optimum impulse coupling is found at laser spot fluences around 2 J/cm^2 for aluminum and 20 J/cm^2 for gold, respectively, with coupling coefficients in the range of 25 to 40 μN/W. For ultrashort pulses, jet velocities are rather small yielding a specific impulse in the range of 70 s to 200 s, whereas for longer pulses beyond ≈ 100 ps, Isp is found to be in the range of 500 to 1000 s and beyond enabling low propellant consumption. However, ultrashort-pulse laser ablation might be favorable since material can be removed very smoothly which might contribute to very low thrust noise.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/106341/
Document Type:Article
Title:Numerical Simulations on Laser-Ablative Micropropulsion with Short and Ultrashort Laser Pulses
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Scharring, Stefanstefan.scharring (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Lorbeer, Raoul-Amadeusraoul.lorbeer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Eckel, Hans-AlbertHans-Albert.Eckel (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4581-6375
Date:30 September 2016
Journal or Publication Title:Transactions of the Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.2322/tastj.14.Pb_69
Page Range:pp. 69-75
Publisher:Aerospace Technology Japan
Keywords:Micropropulsion, Pulsed Thrusters, Laser Ablation, Impulse Coupling, Thrust Noise
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:fixed-wing aircraft
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AR - Aircraft Research
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Laser Research and Technology (old)
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Technical Physics > Studies and Concepts
Deposited By: Scharring, Stefan
Deposited On:06 Oct 2016 16:33
Last Modified:30 May 2019 22:06

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