MAS October Monthly Meeting

Insterstellar laser-sailing: problems and solutions

October MAS Speaker: Dr. Victor Brar

The October MAS meeting will be a virtual meeting hosted with Zoom.

Speaker: Victor Brar, Van Vleck Assistant Professor of Physics, UW-Madison.

In this talk Dr. Brar will summarize recent efforts that have been put into motion which aim to send spacecraft to Alpha Centauri at relativistic speeds, with a goal of receiving data back within our lifetimes. Those proposed missions hinge on developing laser sail technology, in which a high power (~100GW) laser propels a reflective spacecraft. He will discuss the stringent design parameters that the spacecraft must satisfy, and describe how those parameters can be achieved using recently developed ‘metasurface’ technology.

Dr. Brar is a graduate of Middleton High School (class of 2000). He did his undergraduate work at MIT and received his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley in 2010. He has been with the UW-Madison since 2016. Dr. Brar’s research aims to investigate and develop nano- and atomically-structured materials for the purpose of discovering new electronic phenomena, novel thermodynamic behavior, and new optical effects with broad device-level applications.