Pure-black graphene sponges help create a new type of laser propulsion for future spacecraft

06/22/2015 - 00:00

By Michael Byrne -

A team of Chinese physicists has developed a new variety of light-based propulsion system with the ability to harness much greater forces than a conventional solar sail. The key, according to the Nankai University-based group, is in swapping out the mirrored sail—which captures photonic energy as radiation pressure in much the same way a regular air-sail captures wind energy—for a pure-black graphene sponge. Rather than reflect off of the sail, light is absorbed by the sponge, which converts that energy into propulsion.


Ref:  Macroscopic and direct light propulsion of bulk graphene material. Nature Photonics (2015) |  DOI:10.1038/nphoton.2015.105

Open-access - http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1505/1505.04254.pdf