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Old 01-15-2014, 01:44 AM #1
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Question Ionization with Focused Laser?

Hey everyone,
I'm trying to build a setup that would allow me to ionize air along the beam path by sweeping the focus in and out. I need a laser that can be turned on and off rapidly (nanosecond scale) without breaking while also having enough power in each pulse to ionize the air. I'd like to avoid UV wavelengths if possible as well as the buzzing/flash associated with breakdown. Could this could be done at IR wavelengths?

Any help is appreciated!


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Old 01-15-2014, 01:49 AM #2
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Default Re: Ionization with Focused Laser?

There are too many problems here. I'll start with the obvious one.
You want to ionize air, but you do not want the ionized air to emit sound or light?
Are you sure you know what ionization is?
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:04 AM #3
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Default Re: Ionization with Focused Laser?

Adding or removing electrons from an atom, ion, or molecule to create a net charge. Just because you ionize something doesn't mean it has to go immediately back to neutral and release another photon. I guess I should also ask, does the electron have to be completely stripped off of an atom or molecule to make it behave differently or would just promoting an electron to a higher energy level be sufficient?
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:21 AM #4
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Default Re: Ionization with Focused Laser?

Yes it can be done with IR. No you cannot do it without creating light and sound. No it is not something you can DIY unless you're okay with one pulse every three minutes.

What are you trying to build or achieve here?
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:35 AM #5
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Default Re: Ionization with Focused Laser?

Thank you. I'm trying to make small (nm length) "chains" of ions to see what the effects are under different conditions. This is a little outside the bounds of the laser forum, but since a laser would be making positive ions by stripping the electrons, could a focused electron beam be used to make negative ions through electron capture? I think that would get rid of the sound since it would be similar to the ionizing air purifiers (I know they don't work well as purifiers) that don't have the aggressive dielectric breakdown.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:11 AM #6
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Default Re: Ionization with Focused Laser?

When energy is released, it is released as heat, light, sound, or all of the above. That is what everything I have ever been taught or learned about chemistry has said.

PS - In a vacuum you wouldn't be able to hear the sound....but you would also not be able to ionize air....since it is a vacuum.
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