Accession Number : ADA063847

Title :   The Laser Lightning Rod System: A Feasibility Study.

Descriptive Note : Final rept. May-Dec 77,

Corporate Author : AIR FORCE FLIGHT DYNAMICS LAB WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OHIO

Personal Author(s) : Schubert,Charles W. , Jr

Report Date : JUN 1978

Pagination or Media Count : 115

Abstract : The feasibility of triggering lightning with an intense laser pulse is investigated. Physical mechanisms by which such triggerings might occur are examined, and criteria for lightning initiation with a laser beam established. A differential equation for determining the free electron distribution along a kilometer long laser beam is developed, based on the electron-cascade model of gas breakdown. Predictions are made of the electron distribution along laser beams of various focal lengths, wavelengths, pulse shapes, pulse lengths, and flux intensities. The predicted densities are compared with the criteria for triggering lightning. A conclusion is drawn that the triggering of lightning with a laser pulse is feasible from the standpoint of the physics involved; but would require large laser apertures, short pulse lengths, and flux intensities at the aperture near the threshold for the breakdown of air. (Author)

Descriptors :   *CONTROL SYSTEMS, *PULSED LASERS, *LIGHTNING, AIR, ELECTRON DENSITY, INTENSITY, THESES, FREE ELECTRONS, LASER BEAMS, FEASIBILITY STUDIES, BREAKDOWN(ELECTRONIC THRESHOLD).

Subject Categories : Meteorology
      Lasers and Masers

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE