The radiation pressure force on a nearly single-order diffraction grating was measured for a transmission grating near the Littrow angles at wavelengths of 808 and 447 nm. The component of force parallel to the grating agreed well with our prediction, being proportional to the product of the grating order and the ratio of the wavelength and grating period. The normal component of force varied with the incident angle, vanishing near the Littrow angle as expected. The measurements verify a correspondence between the Fourier grating momentum and the mechanical momentum. This Letter provides opportunities for in-space fly-by-light sailcraft as well as terrestrial applications.

Publication Date



© 2018 American Physical Society This paper was originall published in Physical Review Letters. The final, published version can be found here: DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.063903

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus