Physicists have used laser tractor beams to change the path of electrical discharge in the laboratory. They believe that instead of stopping the blazing fire of lightning, their work could step up to redirect it to safety as well as to stop medical applications. Tractor beams are not just a science fiction plot device; they used by evil forces to capture spaceships of plucky heroes before their last-minute escape. Dr Vladlen Shvedov of the Australian National University has previously created an empty laser beam, placing a space in the center of the beam so that everything behind it is dark. Particles trapped in this type of ray can control by dragging the item towards the source of the beam. In doing so, Chevrolet’s strategy allows tractor beams to operate from 100 times the distance as previously attempted.
Shvedov and Professor Andre Mirochnichenko of the University of New South Wales said the beams could used to conduct electrical discharges in nature communications. The secret is to trap the dark heart particles of the tractor beam, Mirochnichenko told IFLScience, and then use the laser to heat. Electrical discharges then follow the “thermal channel” created. For all the hype about the fire during Australia’s massive 2019-2020 bushfire, it mostly started by lightning. Same for wildfires elsewhere revealing gender intentional forest aside. The authors of the paper hope that one day their strategy can used to manage the lightning of the gods where it can do no harm.
Preventing a fire in an area is a larger step than a laboratory, but Mirochnichenko pointed to IFLScience lasers that you could travel as straight as you can. He imagined that drones flying under storm clouds fired tractor beams to keep large areas of the flood free from lightning, at least not after the rains expected to extinguish the fire. The laser direction of the sparks previously achieved, but only by ionizing the atmosphere to create a charge path where electricity propagates. This requires an illegally powerful laser for anything on a small scale.
Shvedov and Mirochnichenko, on the other hand, need only a thousandth of the energy to hold and heat their particles. In some cases dust may already be working in the atmosphere, Mirochnichenko told IFLScience, but experiments emitted graphene particles to play a similar role. Lasers powered by only a few hundred milliwatts proven for laser conditions. “We have an invisible yarn, a pen with which we can write light and control electrical discharge within a tenth of a hair’s length,” Mirochnichenko said in a statement. Before shortening the concept for fire control, the authors think there will be other uses, including less invasive methods of cancerous tissue removal, including treatment applications.