Improving supersonic flights with femtosecond laser filamentation

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 11, eaau5239
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau5239


When a flying object becomes supersonic, a concomitant increase in drag leads to a considerable rise in fuel consumption. We show experimentally that an embarked terawatt femtosecond laser can significantly decrease this drag. We measured a 50% transient reduction of drag on a test model placed in a supersonic wind tunnel at Mach 3. This effect was initiated by the thin hot air column created in front of the supersonic object by filamentation of the laser pulse. We also show that this technique offers possibilities for steering.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances