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Re: air ionization w/laser

Original poster: Ben McMillen <spoonman534@xxxxxxxxx>

Hi Ian,
Power is not the only consideration for ionization of air.. (or any material for that matter). If I recall correctly, this topic has been discussed at great length using some type of pulsed nitrogen laser. Typically, a pulsed laser contains more energy per pulse than a CW laser. The average power of the pulsed laser may be lower, but power per pulse can be quite impressive (especially in the case of fempto-second lasers with pulse widths approaching <130 fs).

I would reccomend doing a search in the archives for home-built nitrogen lasers. If I remember, I have a document that was sent to me by a list member years ago that has instructions on how to build various types of lasers. I'll scan it for you if I can find it.

This may be a bit OT, but has anyone on the list done (or been a part of) research dealing with ionizaton (or ablation) using ultra-fast lasers? We may be getting one in our lab soon, so I'd like to gi ve it a try.. ;) We've got a pulsed Nd:YAG that might do the trick (for ionization at least), but I'd be curious to see if the effects are any different with an ultra-fast laser.

Coiling In Pittsburgh
Ben McMillen

Tesla list <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Original poster: Ian Macky

How much laser power is needed to ionize air? Am thinking triggering
and directing strikes. If you could ionize, the strike should follow
that straight path, yes? The people at wickedlasers.com have green
handhelds up to 300mw, compared to 5mw for typical red pointer. --ian