A side effect of high-energy lasers is that they heat up and ionize the air molecules they pass through.
For a brief moment after the laser beam has stopped firing, a long narrow tube of ionized plasmas hangs in the air — a perfect conductor for any kind of electromagnetic pulse you may want to send through it.
Now, according to a report in Wired News, researchers at the Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in Picatinny, New Jersey have another idea — super high-energy microwaves.
Microwave weapons already have been tried, but not really used, because the beams scatter so much that there’s a high risk of “self kill” to nearby personnel.
Meanwhile, lasers are well understood, but need tremendous amounts of energy to even approach being dangerous.
So, the ARDEC crew is combining the best of both worlds — using a laser to create a focused plasma channel microwaves can’t escape, then firing microwaves down it.
Called the Multimode Directed Energy Armament System by the researchers, the weapon “defeats/neutralise full spectrum of materiel threats at stand off” and have “scalable effects from non-lethal to lethal.”
via Refreshing News: ‘Laser within a laser’ could take out bombs.