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Sun or light source
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diffractive sailcraft will grow stronger.
In the meantime, mission planners may
seek out the particularly beneficial cases where diffraction and reusable pho-
tons provide extraordinary advantages
over reflective sails.
1. G. A. Swartzlander Jr., JOSA B (2017); https://
Grover Swartzlander is a professor at the
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester,
NY; e-mail: email@example.com;
FIGURE 2. A schematic of a light source (for example, the sun) and a diffraction grating
(such as a diffractive solar sail) illustrates the propulsive force resulting from diffraction of light
by the grating. Incident and diffracted light rays (with a mean wavelength λ and respective
wave vectors ⃗ ki and ⃗ kf of magnitude 2π/λ) are shown; when the incident light is diffracted by
a grating of period d into the mth order angle βm, a force on the grating, ⃗ F, is created. Grating
surface normal and tangential unit vectors are nˆ and t ˆ, respectively. The incident white light is
dispersed into its spectral components.