Events at Physics

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Events on Monday, August 21st, 2023

Academic Calendar
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Physics Department Colloquium
Design and Testing of a Laser Thermal Propulsion Facility
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: B343 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Siera Riel , REU student, McGill University
Abstract: New developments in laser physics have recently steered the discussion on alternative propulsion towards directed energy methods. In recent years, phase-locked fiber optic lasers have been extensively studied and appear to be promising methods of spacecraft propulsion for inter-planetary and eventually interstellar missions. In comparison to CO2 lasers considered in the 1970s-80s, the modularity and 1-µm operating wavelengths of fiber optic lasers allow their effective range to be extended by two orders of magnitude. They can be locked on reflectors onboard a spacecraft and redirected to sustain an on-board plasma core within a hydrogen heating chamber, theoretically reaching specific impulse values of approximately 3000 s. The application of these modular arrays to laser-thermal propulsion (LTP) for short-term Mars missions thus provides an adequate platform to explore its utility in interstellar missions. This experiment aims to develop a multi-purpose testing facility to investigate the thrust and thermal efficiency of an LTP system, as well as the effect of gas seeding on these characteristics. Zoom Meeting ID: 935 7095 9934 Passcode: 747340
Host: Alex Squitieri
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