Joshua Sloane

PhD Student

Department of Aerospace Engineering
2101 Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory
Phone: (301) 405-8562 | E-mail: jsloane (at)


Research Interests

Laser Ablation, Plasma propulsion, Inertial electrostatic confinement fusion.

Dissertation Topic

Application of Laser Ablation Propulsion to the Remediation of Large Space Debris Objects


Laser propulsion is the process of removing material from the surface of a solid or fluid using a laser to generate thrust. Using a short pulse duration laser this is achieved via ablation, a non-thermal process where a solid material is converted to a directed plasma plume. For our research, materials are ablated in vacuum, and the ions and nanoparticles in the ablated plume are characterized. Using a custom designed time-of-flight spectrometer, the velocity and the charge per mass ratio of the particle are determined. A detector then counts the particles and determines their energy, from which the particle mass can be determined. In this way, a full velocity, charge, and mass distribution of the plume can be determined.