Progress in Ultrafast Intense Laser Science

Volume 98 of the series Springer Series in Chemical Physics pp 109-122


On Lightning Control Using Lasers

  • Jérôme KasparianAffiliated withTeramobile, GAP Université de Genève Email author 
  • , Jean-Pierre WolfAffiliated withTeramobile, GAP Université de Genève

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After a quick review of historic lightning research, we discuss developments aiming at triggering and guiding lightning using lasers. We recall the limitations inherent to high-energy, nanosecond pulses and discuss the new perspective introduced by the advent of ultrashort, high-power laser pulses and the long ionized filaments they induce in air. After describing a recent field campaign where the triggering of electric activity in thunderclouds by ultrashort lasers was demonstrated for the first time, we discuss perspectives for improvements of both the sequence of laser pulses and the experimental configuration.