“Microairplane Propelled by Laser Driven Exotic Target,” T. Yabe, C. Phipps, M. Yamaguchi, R. Nakagawa, K. Aoki, H. Mine, Y. Ogata, C. Baasandash, M. Nakagawa, E. Fujiwara, K. Yoshida, A. Nishiguchi, and I. Kajiwara, Applied Physics Letters, vol. 80, no. 23, June 10, 2002.
The authors, at Tokyo Institute of Technology, report [AIR 16:1]:
We propose a propulsion concept to drive a microairplane by laser that can be used for observation of climate and volcanic eruption. Since it does not have to develop thrust for vertical takeoff, and it has no engine in the normal sense, the microairplane can be very light, with its payload consisting only of observation and communication equipment. In order to demonstrate the concept, we succeeded in flying a paper microairplane driven by a 590 mJ, 5 ns pulse yttrium–aluminum–garnet laser that impinges on a double-layer “exotic target.”