Diffractive Lightsails

Author: Grover Swartzlander

Abstract: Beamed energy propulsion of a diffractive lightsail will be discussed. Experiments and predications of a stable beam diffractive beam rider will be described along with theoretical opto-mechanical calculations.Unlike metallized reflective sails, diffractive sails provides opportunities to achieve a low loss, high efficiency, high damage threshold optical surface.  What is more, a space variant diffractive film allows opto-mechanical control to be decoupled from the sail attitude.