Abstract

Consider the airfoil: a carefully designed structure capable of stable lift in a uniform air flow. It so happens that air pressure and radiation (light) pressure are similar phenomena because each transfer momentum to flow-disturbing objects. This, then, begs the question: does an optical analogue to the airfoil exist? Though an exceedingly small effect, scientists harness radiation pressure in a wide gamut of applications from micromanipulation of single biological particles to the propulsion of large spacecrafts called solar sails. We introduce a cambered, refractive rod that is subjected to optical forces analogous to those seen in aerodynamics, and I call this analogue the optical wing. Flight characteristics of optical wings are determined by wing shape and material in a uniform radiation field. Theory predicts the lift force and axial torque are functions of the wing's angle of attack with stable and unstable orientations. These structures can operate as intensity-dependent, parametrically driven oscillators. In two-dimensions, the wings exhibit bistability when analyzed in an accelerating frame. In three-dimensions, the motion of axially symmetric spinning hemispherical wings is analogous to a spinning top. Experiments on semi-buoyant wings in water found semicylindrically shaped, refractive microparticles traversed a laser beam and rotated to an illumination-dependent stable orientation. Preliminary tests aid in the development of a calibrated force measurement experiment to directly evaluate the optical forces and torque on these samples. A foundational study of the optical wing, this work contributes to future advancements of flight-by-light.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Airplanes--Wings; Airplanes--Control surfaces; Light

Publication Date

8-11-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Imaging Science (Ph.D.)

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)

Advisor

G. A. Swartzlander

Advisor/Committee Member

Alan D. Raisanen

Advisor/Committee Member

Mario W. Gomes

Comments

Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TL672 .A78 2016

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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