Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lasers and optical shielding


This diagram demonstrates the spectrum of a possible laser (all lasers differ in spectrum) and an example of optical hull plating.



The properties as related to light- laser weapons, scanners, and visibility- are expressed by this diagram.

REFLECTION property quality:
PQ "Diffusion", floating point, % percentile

0 = no diffusion, 0%. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% reflection of Z wavelength and 0% diffusion is reflected off the hull at full strength at the angle of incident (this beam can hit other ships that are located in the path of this angle)

1 = full diffusion, 100%. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% reflection of Z wavelength and 100% diffusion is diffused as a flash of light on the hull, and does not remain coherent, and can not hit another ship.

RETROREFLECTION property quality:
PQ "Angle", floating point, radians

0 = direct retroreflection, 0 r. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% retroreflection of Z wavelength and 0 r angle is retroreflected off the hull at full strength at the source of the beam (this beam will hit the laser it came out of, amplifying the beam and eventually overheating the laser)

0.5 = indirect retroflection, 0.5 pi r. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% retroreflection of Z wavelength and 0.5 pi r angle is retroreflected off the hull at full strength at a random angle within a con of 0.5 pi radians (this beam may hit the ship it came from, or may miss, possibly hitting another ship)

1 = very indirect retroflection, pi r. Same as above, but at a larger angle.

DIFFRACTION property quality:
PQ "attenuation", floating point, % percentile

0 = perfect propagation, 0% loss. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% diffraction of Z wavelength and 0% attenuation is bent around the ship, continuing out the other side of the ship (effectively passing through without doing any damage to the ship). The beam may continiue to hit another ship. With 0% attenuation of a visible colour, the ship's colour chanel is removed (for example, if there is 0% attentuation of red on an otherwise yellow ship, the ship would appear green and transparent to red light- a red star behind the ship would shine through). With 50% attenuation of all visible colours, the ship would be 50% transparent.

1 = complete attenuation, 100% loss. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% diffraction of Z wavelength and 100% attenuation is refracted in the hull, and scattered away. The beam can not continue on to do damage, but when it hits it makes the entire ship seem to light up slightly in the colour of the beam. A ship with complete diffraction of visible light and 100% attentuation merely looks like a fuzzy blob of whatever colour light is hitting it (in space, probably rather dark, but not invisible).



Most mirror shielding, in order to be effective, must also be equipped with cooling to prevent it from melting under intense laser assault (no mirror is perfect).

Hull cooling properties, which can be added under a reflection, retroreflection, or diffraction property, will be discussed later.

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