Russian scientists from St. Petersburg Yuri Rezunkov (Research Institute of Instrumentation) and Alexander Schmidt (Phystech named after Yoffe) proposed to accelerate jet aircraft using a laser.
The operation of the accelerator is based on the laser ablation method, which involves heating and burning matter using laser radiation. With strong heating, it breaks off from the surface of the object, forcing it to move in the opposite direction with respect to the laser radiation source.
The merit of the St. Petersburg scientists lies in the creation of a unique scheme for combining laser ablation and the classical device of rocket engine nozzles, which sharply increases the rate of gas outflow from the nozzle to supersonic values and reduces the fuel mass. The laser thus stabilizes the gas flows, directing them to the inner walls of the nozzle, thereby reducing the load on it.
According to experts, the use of laser ablation technology in jet engines will help in the near future when launching small satellites and creating a new generation of engines for supersonic aircraft.