Scientists have now discovered how to control the precise place where lighting bolts hit. A group of researchers specialized in advance laser light over at the INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research centre have figured out a way of controlling lighting paths using nothing but lasers.
The technology is so precise that the researchers are even able to guide lighting bolts around obstacles, and experts say it has a good chance of being used in the industrial world due to high-voltage arcs already being used in several applications such as the ones that control pollution, as well as combustion engines, machining and micromachining.
These applications could easily increase in number now that lighting control is becoming so precise. A particular favorite of the scientists’ is the potential of using the technology to guide electric cars, which are becoming more and more popular these days thanks to the very real threat posed by climate change and a great interest in finding sources for clean energy.
For their demonstration the researchers at INRS (Institut National De La Recherche Scientifique) mixed and matched different kinds of laser beams and arranged them so that they could make an electric charge move on either a straight or a parabolic trajectory.
The path does not even have to be an elemental one, like a square, as the experts showed just how easily they could follow curved trajectories such as S-shaped ones for instance. All they had to was put an object between two (2) electrodes, and noticed how the electric discharge jumped over the obstacles and make to the next laser, all without damaging said object.
Yves Bégin, vice dean of research and academic affairs over at L’Institut National De La Recherche Scientifique, gave a statement admitting that part of the excitement that the research team has is due to their own fascination with lighting, as well as electric arcs.
But the dean also stressed that the findings have great significance and even open up new fields of research in the scientific community.
He added that “This spectacular proof of concept, which was conducted over a distance of a few centimetres, required the high-power lasers, state-of-the-art facilities, and extraordinary research environment that our professors helped to create at INRS”.
He is also proud that the cutting-edge labs that his students and postdoctoral colleagues work in over at INRS really enables to start their own journey into scientific discovery while they are still in school.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
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