Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Laser manipulation of atomic and molecular flows
by Lilly, Taylor C., Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2010, 133; 3418262
Abstract (Summary)

The continuing advance of laser technology enables a range of broadly applicable, laser-based flow manipulation techniques. The characteristics of these laser-based flow manipulations suggest that they may augment, or be superior to, such traditional electro-mechanical methods as ionic flow control, shock tubes, and small scale wind tunnels. In this study, methodology was developed for investigating laser flow manipulation techniques, and testing their feasibility for a number of aerospace, basic physics, and micro technology applications. Theories for laser-atom and laser-molecule interactions have been under development since the advent of laser technology. The theories have yet to be adequately integrated into kinetic flow solvers. Realizing this integration would greatly enhance the scaling of laser-species interactions beyond the realm of ultra-cold atomic physics. This goal was realized in the present study. A representative numerical investigation, of laser-based neutral atomic and molecular flow manipulations, was conducted using near-resonant and non-resonant laser fields. To simulate the laser interactions over a range of laser and flow conditions, the following tools were employed: a custom collisionless gas particle trajectory code and a specifically modified version of the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo statistical kinetic solver known as SMILE. In addition to the numerical investigations, a validating experiment was conducted. The experimental results showed good agreement with the numerical simulations when experimental parameters, such as finite laser line width, were taken into account. Several areas of interest were addressed: laser induced neutral flow steering, collimation, direct flow acceleration, and neutral gas heating. Near-resonant continuous wave laser, and non-resonant pulsed laser, interactions with cesium and nitrogen were simulated. These simulations showed trends and some limitations associated with these interactions, used for flow steering and collimation. The use of one of these interactions, the induced dipole force, was extended beyond a single Gaussian laser field. The interference patterns associated with counter-propagating laser fields, or “optical lattices,” were shown to be capable of both direct species acceleration and gas heating. This study resulted in predictions for a continuous, resonant laser-cesium flow with accelerations of 106 m/s2. For this circumstance, a future straightforward proof of principle experiment has been identified. To demonstrate non-resonant gas heating, a series of pulsed optical lattices were simulated interacting with neutral non-polar species. An optimum time between pulses was identified as a function of the collisional relaxation time. Using the optimum time between pulses, molecular nitrogen simulations showed an increase in gas temperature from 300 K to 2470 K at 1 atm, for 50 successive optical lattice pulses. A second proof of principle experiment was identified for future investigation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Muntz, E. P.
Commitee: Bickers, N. E., Gimelshein, Sergey F., Ketsdever, Andrew D., Redekopp, Larry G.
School: University of Southern California
Department: Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Aerospace engineering
Keywords: Hypersonics, Microflows, Molecular flows, Neutral flow manipulation, Rarefied gases
Publication Number: 3418262
ISBN: 978-1-124-16404-5
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