Radiation pressure acceleration in the light-sail regime

M. Zepf, M. Borghesi, P. Mckenna, D. Neely, Z. Najmudin, A. P. L. Robinson, R. Prasad, S. Ter-Avetysian, P.F. Foster, D.C. Carroll, D. Doria, N. Dover, P. Gallegos, J. S. Green, C. A.J. Palmer, L. Romagnani, B. Qiao, K. Quinn, M. Streeter, J. SchreiberC. Brenner, O. Tresca

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Accelerating objects using radiation pressure exerted by a beam of light has the potential to accelerate objects to velocities approaching the speed of light. While the dream of using this approach to accelerate macroscopic objects such as spacecraft by this means1 remains far from current technological capabilities, the extreme pressure that can be exerted by the most powerful femtosecond lasers (P=I/c>100Gbar)has made this feasible for micrometer diameter and nanometer thickness foils2. We present the first experimental evidence of foil acceleration in the light-sail regime where the whole foil exposed to laser radiation is pushed forwards by the pressure exerted by the intense laser pulse. Experimental data displaying the key signatures of the light-sail regime – peaked proton spectra for thin foil interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication37th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 2010
EditorsC. McKenna
Place of PublicationMulhouse, France
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Event37th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 2010, EPS 2010 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 21 Jun 201025 Jun 2010


Conference37th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 2010, EPS 2010


  • pressure acceleration
  • femtosecond lasers
  • foil acceleration
  • laser radiation


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