The mechanism of lightning attraction and the problem of lightning initiation by lasers
E.M. Bazelyan a
Yu.P. Raizer b
a G.M. Krzhizhanovskii Power Engineering Institute, Leninskii prosp. 19, Moscow, 117927, Russian Federation
b Institute for Problems in Mechanics, Russian Academy of Sciences, prosp. Vernadskogo 101/1, Moscow, 117526, Russian Federation
Physical processes determining the ability of lightning to change its trajectory by choosing high constructions to strike are discussed. The leader mechanism of lightning propagation is explained. The criterion for a viable ascending (upward) leader to originate from a construction is established. The mechanism of the weak long-distance interaction between the ascending counter leader originating from a grounded construction and the descending (downward) leader from a cloud is analyzed. Current problems concerning lightning protection and lightning triggering by a laser spark are discussed, the latter being of special interest owing to a recent successful experiment along this line.