Lightning- An all new destructive weapon???
Humans have been always eager to search for various weapons that could destroy anything at their wish. Hydrogen Bombs and Atom Bombs are the most latest editions of these curiosity along with EMPs(Electro Magnetic Pulse) etc… Eventhough man have capitalized in the depth of science to develop these, he had often wondered about the destructive forces of Nature . Lightning is an example of these.In a world of severe electricity drought, the power of Electricity in Lightning is always in a huge amount that it can provide that much power which can maintain a city for weeks, in a single instant.
Much to the enjoyments of us, French researchers claim to have developed a method to guide a lightning to a specific spot thus turning it into an item of immense promise both in weaponry and research.
Using an experimental apparatus reminiscent of a classic Frankenstein movie, French researchers have coaxed laboratory-generated lightning into striking the same place, not just twice, but over and over. This feat of electrical reorientation used femtosecond (one quadrillionth of a second) pulses of laser light to create a virtual lightning rod out of a column of ionized gas. This is the first time that these laser-induced atmospheric filaments were able to redirect an electrical discharge away from its intended target and guide it to a normally less-attractive electrode.
Previous experiments confirmed that femtosecond laser could produce ultrashort filaments of ionized gas that act like electrical guide wires. Further studies revealed that these filaments could function over long distances, potentially greater than 50 meters.
For making it viable for the usage of this technique to help in power generation, the laser has to be taking many orders of magnitude lesser energy as compared to the amount of electric current it is able to redirect.
Not just that, it also has to be able to be fired from multiple directions (because the sources of environmental lightning will be at different places every time).
Also, we need to make sure that the laser beam generator does not get hit by lightning itself, because the low resistance path provided by the laser is not directive. Now this might have been done till now by keeping the distance of laser source to lightning source greater than the distance of lightning source to target and/or by keeping the potential of the laser source equal to that of lightning source. But these 2 techniques don’t seem easy to implement for the guidance of atmospheric lightning, specially the first one cannot really be done in any case.