Set-up and evaluation of laser-driven miniflyer system
Miller, Christopher W.
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A laser-driven miniflyer system is built in design similar to those at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Eglin Air Force Base. It is composed of three parts: laser drive source, impact experiment assembly, and diagnostics. The laser drive source is a Nd:YAG laser operating at 1064nm at a maximum energy of 3 J. The impact experiment assembly consists of a BK7 substrate on to which is deposited an ablation layer consisting of carbon, alumina, and aluminum. Mounted on the ablation layer is a metal foil (flyer). The carbon in the ablation layer absorbs the laser energy to form a rapidly expanding plasma. The alumina and aluminum layers provide thermal insulation and also contain the plasma. The set-up is expected to provide flyer velocities in the range of 100 to 1000 m/s. Diagnostics consist of a Photonic Doppler Velocimetry (PDV) system that uses Doppler-shifted coherent laser light to measure the instantaneous velocity of a moving surface, as well as velocity dispersions caused by mechanical or material heterogeneities. This thesis will provide a description of the set-up of the laser-driven miniflyer system, as well as an evaluation of the flyer velocity, measured using the PDV system, as a function of laser energy. The flyer velocity trends will be used in order to characterize and calibrate the system. A manual providing system operation instructions will also be included to serve future users of this miniflyer system