Laser triggers electrical activity in thunderstorm

April 14th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 14 (IANS) Scientists successfully triggered electrical activity for the first time by shooting pulses of laser light into thunderclouds from atop a New Mexico peak. Engineering such strikes will permit scientists to evaluate and test lightning-sensitivity of airplanes and critical infrastructure like power lines.

Pulsed lasers represent a potentially powerful tool for such lightning because they can form a large number of plasma filaments that act like conducting wires extending into the thundercloud.

Although the idea of using lasers for the purpose has been around for more than 30 years, lasers too weak to generate long plasma channels stymied efforts of scientists.

The current generation of more powerful lasers, developed by J

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