Time-resolved measurements of impulse generation in pulsed laser-ablative propulsion

Kohei Anj, Keisuke Sawada, Akihiro Sasoh, Koichi Mori, Eugene Zaretsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Impulse generation mechanisms in pulsed laser ablation were experimentally studied using the velocity interferometer system for any reflector and framing Schlieren visualization. The impulse was estimated from the rear surface velocity at the center of the laser irradiated spot The fluence was from 13 to 24 J/cm2. In most cases, the propulsive force generated even after the primary laser power peak significantly contributed to the total impulse. With the combination of transversely excited atmospheric C02 laser and aluminum target, only air breakdown was induced on the target surface without ablation and the impulse level was low. With decreasing ambient pressure P0, the impulse also decreased, and eventually vanished. With the combination of Nd: YAG laser and aluminum target, the ablation jet contributed to impulse generation and the impulse did not vanish even at vanishing P 0. When a transversely excited atmospheric C02 laser pulse was directed onto the polyacetal target, the impulse increased by a factor of 10 in comparison with the aluminum target, yielding a momentum coupling coefficient exceeding 400 μN · s/J. When P0 was at atmospheric pressure, the laser plasma shielded the target surface against the proceeding laser power transmission and the impulse saturated at a lower value than at P0 = 10-2 Pa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-329
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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