Original Article

Citation: Light: Science & Applications (2014) 3, e159; doi:10.1038/lsa.2014.40
Published online 11 April 2014

The effect of self-focusing on laser space-debris cleaning
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Alexander M Rubenchik1, Michail P Fedoruk2,3 and Sergei K Turitsyn3,4

  1. 1Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
  2. 2Institute of Computational Technologies, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
  3. 3Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
  4. 4Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK

Correspondence: Prof. SK Turitsyn, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK. E-mail: s.k.turitsyn@aston.ac.uk

Received 30 August 2013; Revised 19 December 2013; Accepted 25 December 2013

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Abstract

A ground-based laser system for space-debris cleaning will use powerful laser pulses that can self-focus while propagating through the atmosphere. We demonstrate that for the relevant laser parameters, this self-focusing can noticeably decrease the laser intensity on the target. We show that the detrimental effect can be, to a great extent, compensated for by applying the optimal initial beam defocusing. The effect of laser elevation on the system performance is discussed.

Keywords:

laser; self-focusing; space debris