Optomechanics of a stable diffractive axicon light sail
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, 14623, Rochester, NY, USA
Accepted: 17 June 2020
Published online: 14 July 2020
Beamed propulsion of a light sail based on radiation pressure benefits from a passively self-stabilizing “beam riding” diffractive film. We describe the optomechanics of a rigid non-spinning light sail that mitigates catastrophic sail walk-off and tumbling by use of a flat axicon diffraction grating. A linear stability analysis and numerical integration of the coupled translational and rotational equations of motion are examined. Stability is traded against longitudinal acceleration. The examined system achieves 90% of the theoretical longitudinal force limit and stability against a relative sail translation up to 30% of the sail radius when the payload is attached to a long boom.
© The Author(s) 2020
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