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Old 05-31-2010, 09:01 PM #1
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Default A possible lightning gun

Let's say you get an ultraviolet laser, and widen the beam to about 1cm. Since it's UVB, it will ionize the air in it's path. Now let's say you take a tesla coil, and attach the neutral end of the secondary to the ground. Then take the toroid-end, and introduce the electricity into the beam. If the ground is moist, you could shock things quite a distance away. Assuming the target is a person wearing rubber-soled shoes, capacitive coupling would still allow the HVAC current to flow.

Of course this wouldn't be very portable, requiring a maybe 3' box, but it is a nice concept. Ideally you could use it with an aiming device as a sentry.

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Old 05-31-2010, 09:04 PM #2
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

Such a thing is theoretically possible but the extent to which any reasonable laser will ionise the air is pretty low. To do so and make a strong, conductive path, you'd need a huge amount of power. Look at directed energy weapons and blooming for more information. There's another thread about this somewhere, perhaps have a little search around too.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:05 PM #3
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

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Originally Posted by charliebruce View Post
Such a thing is theoretically possible but the extent to which any reasonable laser will ionise the air is pretty low. To do so and make a strong, conductive path, you'd need a huge amount of power. Look at directed energy weapons and blooming for more information. There's another thread about this somewhere, perhaps have a little search around too.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:06 PM #4
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

You lost me at the part about sending int rhough the beam. Are you saying you would send the electric flow through the beam? And the beam would be like a road for the electricity to flow on? Sounds interesting. I don't understand how it would work. But the only way to find is if somebody did it.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:09 PM #5
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

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Originally Posted by bloompyle View Post
You lost me at the part about sending int rhough the beam. Are you saying you would send the electric flow through the beam? And the beam would be like a road for the electricity to flow on? Sounds interesting. I don't understand how it would work. But the only way to find is if somebody did it.
Well, the ionized air is far more conductive than the non-ionized air, therefore the electricity would like to flow down it, even if the path is longer.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:20 PM #6
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

Those are pulsed lasers, so the peak power is very high but short-lived (It takes about 1MJ/cm^3 to ionise fully). If you can time the very quick laser pulse to create the channel with a very high current to sustain the arc over the distance, then no doubt you could achieve the effect you're talking about.

Electrolaser - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To me, the main issue (other than the high energy requirements) is the risk that, if the ionised channel is broken, you've got 10^9 volts in an electrode, right in front of you...
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:21 PM #7
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

It's worth a try I guess. But where to you plan to get such high powered lasers to accomplish such a feat? Or are you not doing it...?
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:29 PM #8
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

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Originally Posted by bloompyle View Post
It's worth a try I guess. But where to you plan to get such high powered lasers to accomplish such a feat? Or are you not doing it...?
I probably won't unless I could turn my 250mw 532nm into a UV laser. I'm not forking over a couple thousand for one.

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Those are pulsed lasers, so the peak power is very high but short-lived (It takes about 1MJ/cm^3 to ionise fully). If you can time the very quick laser pulse to create the channel with a very high current to sustain the arc over the distance, then no doubt you could achieve the effect you're talking about.

Electrolaser - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To me, the main issue (other than the high energy requirements) is the risk that, if the ionised channel is broken, you've got 10^9 volts in an electrode, right in front of you...
Not if it's a remote sentry. Plus, chainmail would protect you.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:34 PM #9
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

I have seen my SSY-1 NdYag ionize air. Never thought of trying to send a current using it. Once the path is established, the HV should maintain the arc. Perhaps some of the CW CO2 if focused tight.....

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Old 05-31-2010, 09:37 PM #10
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

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Originally Posted by Hemlock_Mike View Post
I have seen my SSY-1 NdYag ionize air. Never thought of trying to send a current using it. Once the path is established, the HV should maintain the arc. Perhaps some of the CW CO2 if focused tight.....

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Old 05-31-2010, 11:51 PM #11
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

efficiency is too low in the conversion process, I had a q-switched 355nm laser and it was nowhere near powerful enough to ionize air
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:35 AM #12
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

Well, what about a TEA laser?
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:53 AM #13
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

one problem is that electricity is very very unpredictable it will go where it wants, which is never where you want. someone tried this awhile back using a big Tesla coil and a conductive gas. but hey you get the laser ill supply the Tesla.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:23 PM #14
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

I don't think it'll work very well. Nor is practical.

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Old 06-04-2010, 06:01 AM #15
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

High Voltage electricity is lazy. It will find the easiest path to ground. The lightning bolt streamers themselves are a conducting path for the current. So in order for the HV to travel down the beam it will have to ionize the air as well as lightning itself. The beam will have to ionize the air sufficiently better such that the streamers don't simply just ground themselves else ware.

Also what's to stop the HV from traveling right into the laser itself. The laser modual itself would have to be at the same potential difference as the HV (relative to ground). There is no way you'd be able to power and protect an operating laser while it's sitting on a Tesla Coil.

But it's a cool idea! Skin cancer and electrocution gun; I love it!!! hahaha!

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Old 06-04-2010, 10:55 AM #16
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Default Re: A possible lightning gun

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High Voltage electricity is lazy. It will find the easiest path to ground. The lightning bolt streamers themselves are a conducting path for the current. So in order for the HV to travel down the beam it will have to ionize the air as well as lightning itself. The beam will have to ionize the air sufficiently better such that the streamers don't simply just ground themselves else ware.

Also what's to stop the HV from traveling right into the laser itself. The laser modual itself would have to be at the same potential difference as the HV (relative to ground). There is no way you'd be able to power and protect an operating laser while it's sitting on a Tesla Coil.

But it's a cool idea! Skin cancer and electrocution gun; I love it!!! hahaha!

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