Researchers at the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona claimed that they could hypothetically control the weather with the help of a high-energy laser beam. According to the researchers, condensation, storms and lightning are caused due to a presence of a large amount of static electricity in the clouds, which could be controlled through a laser beam to create a storm on demand.
Researchers used two beams
By covering one beam with another beam, an energy pool could be created so that the central beam could hold the energy for longer than previously possible. The purpose of the secondary beam would be to protect the integrity of the primary beam, which could break down quickly on its own.
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Matthew Mills, a graduate student at the UFC Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers said that even though the laser can travel distance it starts breaking up by itself when it becomes very intense. Mills, along with fellow graduate researcher Ali Miri, carried out the tests.
“The collapse becomes so intense that electrons in the air’s oxygen and nitrogen are ripped off creating plasma — basically a soup of electrons,” Mills explained in a statement.
Thereafter the process of ‘filamentation’ starts, which basically is a struggle in the plasma between collapsing and spreading. During the process light is generated only for the time span until the beam disperses. According to Mills, the filament generates excited electrons when it moves, thus artificially creating the conditions necessary for rain and lightning to occur.
More applications for the technology
The researchers note that efforts made in the past caused some type of an electrical event in clouds, although risk of a lightning strike emerged while seeding clouds with lasers.
“What would be nice is to have a sneaky way which allows us to produce an arbitrary long ‘filament extension cable,’” says Mills, and adds that covering a large, low intensity beam around the filament may be a solution.
Mills said that the length of the filament could be controlled and condition for rainstorm can be generated. He added that the end result would be that one can artificially control the rain and lightning over a large expanse with such ideas.
Such technology can be used in the long distance sensors and in spectrometers for chemical makeups. The research has been funded by the Department of Defense.