Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Optical gradient force assist maneuver

Alexandra B. Artusio-Glimpse, Jacob H. Wirth, and Grover A. Swartzlander

We describe an energy transfer process whereby a moving particle loses (or gains) kinetic energy upon interacting with the moving optical potential of a swept beam of light. This approach is akin to a gravitational assist maneuver for interplanetary satellite propulsion. Special consideration is given to the stopping condition. For analytical convenience, we examine the Rayleigh scattering regime, providing examples at small and large scattering angles. A 5% uncertainty in the initial particle speed and position has negligible effect on the slowing/speeding ability when the beam size is much larger than the particle.

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