Army Aims to Smite Enemies With Wild Lightning Bolt Weapon
June 28, 2012 3:55 PM
(Source: Gonzalo Arias)
A laser induced plasma channel guides the lightning bolt until it reaches the target
LIPC stands for The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, but for all intents and purposes, it might as well stand for "lightning gun".
The project combines two of the coolest things known to man --
-- and turns them into one mean superweapon, which could soon be capable of unleashing devastating damage at mid-range to close-quarters.
lead scientist is heading the project. He
Light travels more slowly in gases and solids than it does in a vacuum. We typically think of the speed of light in each material as constant. There is, however, a very small additional intensity-dependent factor to its speed. In air, this factor is positive, so light slows down by a tiny fraction when the light is more intense."
If a laser puts out a pulse with modest energy, but the time is incredibly tiny, the power can be huge. During the duration of the laser pulse, it can be putting out more power than a large city needs, but the pulse only lasts for two-trillionths of a second."
For very powerful and high intensity laser pulses, the air can act like a lens, keeping the light in a small-diameter filament. We use an ultra-short-pulse laser of modest energy to make a laser beam so intense that it focuses on itself in air and stays focused in a filament.
The optical amplifier outputs 50 billion watts of optical power -- about the equivalent of 500 million household incandescent light bulbs. The focused beam in turn creates a plasma channel, which electricity can be directed along to create manmade, targeted lightning. Describes Fischer:
If a laser beam is intense enough, its electro-magnetic field is strong enough to rip electrons off of air molecules, creating plasma. This plasma is located along the path of the laser beam, so we can direct it wherever we want by moving a mirror.
Air is composed of neutral molecules and is an insulator. When lightning from a thunderstorm leaps from cloud to ground, it behaves just as any other sources of electrical energy and follows the path of least resistance.
The plasma channel conducts electricity way better than un-ionized air, so if we set up the laser so that the filament comes near a high voltage source, the electrical energy will travel down the filament.
Since enemy vehicles and munitions tend to be more conductive than the ground they sit on, they create voltage drop that channels the lightning out of the beam and into the target. Unexploded munitions will detonate.
The high voltage laser requires precise synchronization. One wrong move could lead it to destroy itself. Describes Fischer, "If the light focuses in air, there is certainly the danger that it will focus in a glass lens, or in other parts of the laser amplifier system, destroying it. We needed to lower the intensity in the optical amplifier and keep it low until we wanted the light to self-focus in air."
LIPC hits a car with a lightning bolt, during a test. [Image Source: U.S. Army]
The new twist on the laser weapon may soon join
high-power direct laser weapons
devastating rail guns
on the battlefield.
Early tests in January 2012 proved quite successful, according to the researcher. He says much work still remains in ruggedizing the prototype for operational environments, and enabling it to take multiple shots.
But he adds, "We never got tired of the lightning bolts zapping our simulated (targets)."
"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot
Army's Laser Wagon Prepares to Roll Onto the Battlefield
May 14, 2012, 2:05 PM
Navy Uses Laser to Cripple Ship in First Sea Test
April 11, 2011, 10:33 AM
Navy Railgun Fires 33-megajoule Shot
December 13, 2010, 10:02 AM
Nokia Designs Phone that Detects Lightning
May 25, 2007, 12:40 AM
Cyber Hackers Threaten Security of Lifesaving Medical Devices
October 19, 2016, 8:09 AM
Innovative Neurotechnology in Sound Therapy Reduces High Blood Pressure and Migraines
October 16, 2016, 5:00 AM
Researchers Move Closer to Breakthrough Gene Therapy to Cure Sickle Cell
October 14, 2016, 5:00 AM
Keytruda: A breakthrough treatment to increase survival rates for lung cancer patients
October 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
CDC Warning about Record High Increases in 2016 for Polio-like Illness causing Paralysis
October 9, 2016, 5:00 AM
Hypertension in children impacts cognitive performance
October 5, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Car Insurance - The Hidden Discriminatory Practise
October 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Problems with Windows 10 – Update Now
October 15, 2016, 7:30 AM
Is Razer Blade Stealth Laptop For You?
October 16, 2016, 5:00 AM
Tesla Event Pushed to Wednesday
October 17, 2016, 5:00 AM
Smart Technology Mood Collar To Understand Your Dog’s Emotions
October 17, 2016, 5:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Mac Users, Try this if Your Mac is Infected?
Oct 23, 2016, 7:00 AM
Tips to Prevent Smartphones From Overheating:
Oct 22, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nasa Flies Drones at Nevada Airport
Oct 21, 2016, 8:21 AM
T-Mobile Data Problems
Oct 20, 2016, 10:17 AM
Annoying Apple Watch Problems and How to Fix Them
Oct 20, 2016, 5:00 AM
Your Mail May Soon Be Delivered By Robot
Oct 19, 2016, 9:34 AM
2018 Jeep Wrangler Prototype Sells At Junkyard
Oct 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Samsung Shines with Gold Edition Tablet
Oct 17, 2016, 9:24 AM
Tesla Hints Mysterious Product Debut for October 17th
Oct 16, 2016, 10:14 AM
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones on US flights
Oct 15, 2016, 5:00 AM
Comcast Fined $2.3 Million For Unconfirmed Services Charged To Customers
Oct 14, 2016, 5:00 AM
“American singer / songwriter “Bob Dylan is awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Oct 13, 2016, 10:33 AM
Battery Defect in Medical Device
Oct 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
IBM Bolsters Social Services Sector With Technology Grants
Oct 11, 2016, 5:00 AM
Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate but US Still Toys With Skepticism
Oct 10, 2016, 5:00 AM
IMEX America Trade Show
Oct 9, 2016, 10:00 AM
Phone Wars – Google VS Samsung Free Gifts on Purchase
Oct 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Member of Parliament’s opposition car exploded in Tbilist capital of Georgia
Oct 5, 2016, 2:52 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information