Laser Filamentation; Laser induced Lightning; Weather Control; Laser induced condensation; Coherent Control
Matthews Mary (2016), Laser vaporization of cirrus-like ice particles with secondary ice multiplication, in Science Advances
, 2(5), e1501912.
Mary Matthews (2014), Linewidth-narrowing phenomena with intersubband cavity polaritons, in Physical Review B
, 89 (20), 205319.
Petrarca M., Henin S., Berti N., Matthews M., Chagas J., Kasparian J., Wolf J. -P., Gatti G., Di Pirro G., Anania M. -P., Ferrario M., Ghigo A. (2014), White-light femtosecond Lidar at 100 TW power level, in APPLIED PHYSICS B-LASERS AND OPTICS
, 114(3), 319-325.
Matthews M., Henin S., Pomel F., Theberge F., Lassonde P., Daigle J-F., Kieffer J-C., Kasparian J., Wolf J. -P. (2013), Cooperative effect of ultraviolet and near-infrared beams in laser-induced condensation, in APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS
, 103(26), 264103.
The prevention of damaging weather phenomena like floods, hail and lightning strikes has been a dream for centuries. We propose a highly innovative approach relying on laser filaments for both triggering and guiding lightning and to produce water condensation in the atmosphere. Filaments arise from the non-linear propagation of high-power lasers through transparent media. They consist of self-sustained light strings of typ. 100 µm diameter and hundreds of meters length in air, bear very high intensities (10TW/cm2) and are electrically conductive through molecular ionization.The filamentation process in air was considered until recently as resulting from the dynamic balance between the optical Kerr effect and defocusing by the self-generated plasma. Our unexpected discovery, last year, that filaments are governed by negative higher-order Kerr effect (HOKE), opened both basic physical questions about the stabilization mechanism and new opportunities to optimize the envisioned applications to lightning triggering and cloud condensation. The present project aims at investigating both of these aspects.We propose to study in the laboratory the physical origin of the alternated signs of HOKE in gases, which are suspected to stem from populated bound states. Coherently controlling these bound states in rare gases and air will allow us to tailor the HOKE inversion, and consequently to control the filament process itself. Optimal pulse shapes will then be sought by adaptive (closed loop) techniques to maximize the plasma density and lifetime in filaments for lightning control applications. Similar coherent control approaches will be performed for optimizing the complex photochemistry that leads to water condensation in the atmosphere.