from RT Website
Researchers say their discovery can be used to
seed rain and trigger lightning, but the potential scope of applications is
They used a second lower-intensity laser beam to
'dress' the primary one and act as a power source for it. This extended the
range of the high-intensity beam from just several centimeters to several
meters in lab conditions.
The US Department of Defense, which green-lit the research with a $7.5 million grant, certainly thought it was worth the investment. As for weather control, the team needs to find a way to send a laser beam hundreds of meters into the sky and sustain its energy, researchers say.
Their report, entitled 'Externally Refueled Optical Filaments', was published in the journal Nature Photonics. The usage of lasers for weather control has been researched for some time.
Not any laser is suited for the job however.
It must be powerful enough and produce a very short burst.
The resulting plasma fights the surrounding air for control, producing a pathway, or 'light string'.
This process of filamentation, as it's called,
creates "excited electrons" everywhere it passes. Those electrons are the
building blocks of lightning. They can be used to create and control it.
Matthew Mills and others found a way to create an "extension cable" for the laser: by "dressing" the initial super-intense laser beam with a lower intensity one.
This secondary doughnut-shaped "dress" beam gives extra energy to the initial beam mush like a fighter jet gets extra fuel from a refueling aircraft to stay longer in the air.
The research is broader than just offering a new way of seeding clouds and protecting buildings from lighting, both of which can be done by more conventional methods.
They have managed to extend their high-intensity laser from a few centimeters to a few meters, and it's only a matter of time until we are also able to,
This could mean a whole host of science
applications and measuring capabilities in areas we could not previously get
close enough to work with without getting obliterated by lightning.
For example the United States'
facility in Alaska, which studies the ionosphere, has a number of
theories' associated with it, claiming that it can control
weather and even trigger natural disasters in remote areas on the command
from the US generals.