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Lasers To Divert Lightning Strikes

Question asked by Kaustubh Katdare in #Coffee Room on Apr 2, 2014
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Apr 2, 2014
Rank A1 - PRO
How do you like the idea of diverting the path of lightning strikes so that they don't hit the buildings? Engineers and optical researchers at the University of Arizona and University of Central Florida have collaborated to develop a new kind of Laser technology that can send high-intensity laser beams through the sky at farther distances than was possible before. Though the research is still in the labs; it has the potential to guide the path of electrical discharges and allow us to avoid lightnings to strike on the buildings.

The problem with the high-intensity lasers is that they disappear over a shorter distance; often limited to a few feet. This happens because of the phenomenon called diffraction; the same effect that makes a rod dipped in water to appear bent. Researchers fixed this problem by enclosing the high intensity beam inside a lower intensity laser beam. The primary beam travels through the air and the dress beam aka the second beam keeps fueling it with energy. This technique allows the lasers to be projected at very long distances.

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Image Credit: David Aragon​

The laser bursts used by the researchers in their laboratory experiments were able to pack huge amount of energy over very short timespan of about 1 femtosecond (billionth of a millionth of one second). Under the laboratory conditions, the researchers could extend the range of the laser from 10 inches to approximately 7 ft. The research team believe that using their techniques, the overall range of the laser can easily be extended beyond 50 meters.

When the laser travels through the air, it leaves a plasma channel in its wake. This plasma comprises of ionized molecules minus their electrons and the researchers think that these plasma channels would ultimately allow them to redirect the lightening strikes and avoid them from hitting buildings. Read more about the research on the source link below.

Source: UANews Posted in: #Coffee Room
Void Runner
Void Runner · Apr 8, 2014
Rank D1 - MASTER
It is an interesting theory, but in practice it may not work that way. It is also possible that it may actually amplify the lightning due to the nature of interference and diffraction amongst waves. I'll be looking forward to the test results 😀

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