Researchers at the University of Arizona and University of Central Florida are working together to develop a high-powered laser that could make it rain and lightning when directed at clouds. But what if it's pointed into the eye of an enemy? Hardcore science!:
"When a laser beam becomes intense enough, it behaves differently than usual -- it collapses inward on itself," Matthew Mills, a graduate student at the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, told UCF Today. "The collapse becomes so intense that electrons in the air's oxygen and nitrogen are ripped off creating plasma -- basically a soup of electrons."
At that point, the plasma immediately tries to spread the beam back out, causing a struggle between the spreading and collapsing of an ultra-short laser pulse. This struggle is called filamentation, and creates a filament or "light string" that only propagates for a while until the properties of air make the beam disperse.
The researchers are working on what they call a "filament extension cable" to withstand the collapse.
"If you wrap a large, low-intensity, doughnut-like 'dress' beam around the filament and slowly move it inward, you can provide this arbitrary extension," Mills said. "Since we have control over the length of a filament with our method, one could seed the conditions needed for a rainstorm from afar. Ultimately, you could artificially control the rain and lightning over a large expanse."
I didn't understand any of that. "Doughnut-like dress beams?" I understand doughnuts, but I don't know what they have to do with weather-controlling laser beams. I wish I could make it rain whenever I wanted. I told you about the one time I did make it rain at the strip club right? "With nickels?" They did not appreciate that.
Thanks to Mr. K, who agrees this is all going to end badly because Mother Nature does NOT appreciate being f***ed with.