Do thermal effects cause the propulsion of bulk graphene material?

Lei Wu, Yonghao Zhang, Yian Lei, Jason M. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


In a recent article, Zhang et al.1 observed the direct propulsion of a bulk graphene sponge when exposed to laser light. They attributed this to the momentum of the light-induced ejected electrons. However, the force provided by the ejected electrons is about 2.7 × 10−11 N (supposing that the average current and the kinetic energy of the ejected electrons are 9 × 10−7 A and 70 eV, respectively), which is far smaller than the gravitational force of a 0.86 mg graphene sponge. From our knowledge of rarefied gas dynamics, the horizontal, vertical and rotational motion of the laser-illuminated graphene sponge could be due to the radiometric force.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139
Number of pages1
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2016


  • thermal effects
  • graphene material
  • propulsion


Dive into the research topics of 'Do thermal effects cause the propulsion of bulk graphene material?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this