Optical EngineeringFeasibility study of a CO2-laser based lightning-protection system realization
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The feasibility of producing a continuous laser spark (CLS) with low resistance by focusing radiation from a CO2 laser with a conic mirror is demonstrated. The laser energy input per unit length required for this is experimentally found to be equal to ≈200 J/m. The possibility to efficiently control the trajectory of an electric discharge by means of a CLS is demonstrated. The effect of polarity in the electric breakdown of the air gaps between the CLS plasma channel and a metal rod is discovered and interpreted. The transverse structure of CLS conductivity is investigated. The possibility of producing a long laser spark (LLS) with much higher resistance by focusing radiation from a CO2 laser with a spherical mirror used to protect objects against lightning is studied. The conditions under which the electric discharges from clouds can be guided reproducibly along a LLS are determined. Experiments reveal that the interaction between the LLS and the discharge from an electrode (lightning rod) leads to a decrease in the lifetime of the streamer corona burst, as well as to an increase in the current of the developing leader and its velocity compared to the case without the LLS.