Progress to Ultralight 16 Square Meter Nanocrystal Solar Sails for Breakthrough Starshot

Breakthrough Starship wants to use a 100 Gigawatt laser array to push an ultralight 4 meter X 4 meter nanocrystal solar sail. StarChip is the name used by Breakthrough Initiatives for a very small, centimeter-sized, gram-scale, interstellar spacecraft envisioned for the Breakthrough Starshot program. The light sail is envisioned to be no larger than 4 …

Read more

Lasers Hold a Few Hundred Atoms to Create the Smallest Optical Mirror

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) have made an optical mirror using only a few hundred identical atoms. They used a new metamaterial made of a single structured layer. few hundred identical atoms. Interfering laser beams hold two layers of atoms in arrays. This has come from an emerging new field …

Read more

Ceramic Metamaterial Solar Sails Could Enable 300 Kilometers per Second

Extreme metamaterial solar sails as proposed here have the potential to shift the paradigm of space exploration enabling numerous low cost and high-speed missions to be launched anytime and anywhere. Such sails could gain accelerations over 60AU/yr when coupled to low mass spacecraft and dive to extreme proximity to the sun (just 2-5 solar radii). …

Read more

Two-photon Lithography Boosts Nanoprinting Speed by up to 10,000 Times

Femtosecond Projection Two-photon Lithography (FP-TPL) printing technology increases the printing speed by 1,000 – 10,000 times, and reduces the cost by 98%. It controls the laser spectrum via temporal focusing, the laser 3D printing process is performed in a parallel layer-by-layer fashion instead of point-by-point writing. This is a technological breakthrough that leads nanoscale 3D …

Read more

Near Term Laser Space Propulsion to Move Twenty Times Faster in the Solar System

This is an update of the system under development by John Brophy and his team and it will use a kilometer-scale, multi-hundred-megawatt phased-array laser to beam power to a vehicle that converts it to electrical power for a multi-megawatt electric propulsion system that produces a specific impulse of 58,000 s. This will enable velocities of …

Read more

Diffracted solar sail

There is a NASA NIAC study to improved laser pushed sails with advanced diffracted solar sail. Advanced diffractive films may afford advantages over passive reflective surfaces for a variety space missions that use solar or laser in-space propulsion. Three cases are compared: Sun-facing diffractive sails, Littrow diffraction configurations, and conventional reflective sails. A simple Earth-to-Mars …

Read more