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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Stabilizing Design for Laser Pushed Light Sails

•, Brian Wang

There is progress on a stabilizing design for a sail to ride the laser beam.

An optical beam rider making use of a light sail comprising two opposing diffraction gratings is experimentally demonstrated for the first time. We verify that the illuminated space-variant grating structure provides an optical restoring force, exhibiting stable oscillations when the bigrating is displaced from equilibrium. We further demonstrate parametric cooling by illuminating the sail with synchronized light pulses. This experiment enhances the technical feasibility of a laser-driven light sail based on diffractive radiation pressure.