New methods to make longer streams of plasma with greater longevity could lead to laser-powered lightning rods
Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod 250 years ago to protect people and buildings from lightning strikes. Someday, those metal poles may be replaced with lasers.
A team of researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, have demonstrated new techniques that bring lasers as lighting rods closer to reality.
When a powerful laser beam shoots through the air, it ionizes the molecules, leaving a thin trail of hot, ionized particles in its wake. Because this stream of plasma conducts electricity, it could be used to channel away a potentially damaging lightning bolt.
The researchers found ways to make the length of such a plasma channel reach more than 10 times longer — a necessary advance for using the channel to redirect a lightning strike.
Jenya Papeer, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will present the work on 22 October 2015 at Frontiers in Optics, The Optical Society’s annual meeting and conference in San Jose, California, USA, on 22 October 2015.
The researchers created a channel of plasma by firing a powerful laser that produces a pulse lasting a fleeting 100 femtoseconds (one femtosecond is 10-15 seconds). The problem is that the resulting plasma stream, 100 microns in diameter, lasts for only about three nanoseconds. After that time, the plasma cools off, the electrons recombine with the atoms and the channel disappears.
To extend the lifetime of the plasma channel, the researchers shot another laser whose beam overlaps the plasma. The secondary laser, which produces 10-nanosecond bursts, keeps the plasma hot and prevents the electrons from recombining so quickly, extending the longevity of the plasma channel by more than a factor of 10. The team is now working on ways to fire a more powerful secondary laser — or maybe additional beams — to increase the lifetime of the channel even more.
In principle, Papeer says, a longer life could also extend the length of the plasma channel, which stretches for only about a meter. The laser creates the trailing plasma stream analogous to the way a pen leaves behind a line of ink. If the ink disappears soon after the pen makes a mark, you can only ever draw a short line. But if the ink were to last longer, you could draw a longer line. Likewise, a longer-lasting plasma would result in a longer channel.
In related work, the researchers also devised a method to lengthen the plasma channel. The laser beam typically generates multiple plasma channels that spread out randomly along the laser beam. But by designing an apparatus of lenses that controls how the laser is focused, the researchers were able to make three plasma channels that line up in sequence, one after another.
The result is a three-segmented plasma channel that acts as a single, three-meter long channel. “The beauty is that you can extend it for pretty much as long as you want, as long as you have the proper optical set up and a laser beam with enough power,” Papeer says. In fact, this ability to extend the channel to an arbitrary length is the main advantage of this method.
Read more: Shooting Lightning Out of the Sky
The Latest on: Laser-powered lightning rods
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Laser-powered lightning rods” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Laser-powered lightning rods
- Laser Power System Keeps UAVs Flying Indefinitelyon September 22, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Here’s a good example of what we’re talking about. Lasers can no be used to keep a UAV in the air indefinitely. The trick is to add an array of photovoltaic cells specifically tuned to an IR ...
- laser pointeron September 21, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The videos from [styropyro] are always amusing and informative. However, ironically for him, he is alarmed that many green laser pointers are more powerful than they are supposed to be. Sure, you ...
- DARPA looks to laser to beam power across the worldon September 12, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The second phase will concentrate on integrating the technology into an existing airframe, and the third will be a test to deliver 10 kilowatts of laser power across 200 km (125 miles).
- High Power Laser Chip Market Growth (Size and Share) 2023-2031 Emerging Trends Analysison September 10, 2023 at 9:35 am
This full and thorough report, titled "High Power Laser Chip Market" Insights of 2023, offers a thorough analysis of the market's size, shares, revenues, major segments, drivers, trends ...
- Product Preview: LaserMax VP9 Guide Rod Laseron September 7, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Experiencing the reality that “a daughter is a treasure and a cause for sleeplessness,” the author determined to equip one of his own with the firearm skills necessary to survive in a harsh ...
- News tagged with high-power laseron August 28, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Multiphoton lithography (MPL) is a technique that uses ultra-short laser pulses to create complex three-dimensional (3D) structures at the micro- and nanoscale. It is based on the principle of ...
- High-powered lasers may be used to control lightning, research showson June 2, 2023 at 6:22 am
a lightning rod. Researchers believe lasers someday could be used to protect launch pads, nuclear power plants, stadiums and airports. “Lightning striking near an airport is one of the big ...
- Scientists Test System for Controlling Where Lightning Strikes Hit Using Laserson January 19, 2023 at 9:14 am
Lightning rods have already been in use for centuries ... Houard and his team shot pulses out of a specialized, high power laser at thunderclouds from atop a point on the Santis mountain in ...
- Blue lasers offer new power for copper manufacturingon August 30, 2022 at 3:26 pm
Any laser heat that is applied to a specific spot quickly transfers through to any other materials in contact with the copper. Zapping the metal with very high-power lasers could get around this ...
- Laser Processing Equipment Informationon June 21, 2022 at 2:55 am
Laser processing equipment uses high-powered lasers to cut, trim, perforate, weld, join, or mark a variety of materials in plate or sheet form. They are used to process metals, plastics, semiconductor ...
via Bing News