OSA Rochester Section

  • October 11, 2011
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Center for Optoelectronics and Imaging, Laboratory for Laser Energetics

Title: Total Internal Reflection in a Gain Medium and Its Application to 'Ball Lightning'

Abstract: Ball lightning is an extremely rare natural phenomenon, and as such has been poorly studied. This talk will present an electromagnetic model of ball lightning, based on the thin spherical shell of compressed gas filled with high intensity light. Such object can be created by a shock wave from a point explosion, and a laser discharge into a whispering gallery mode. The stability of the object is achieved via electrostriction forces generated by the photon-matter interaction. The calculated life-time and other physical parameters demonstrate practical feasibility of this model. The talk will propose an experimental approach to ignite such ball lightning (or a similar object) by light amplification inside a spherical glass shell, which is placed into an active medium. A brief history behind the model will also be presented.

Speaker Bio: Vladimir Ignatovich is a senior staff theoretician at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia. Having obtained his academic degrees from Moscow State University, he spent most of his career working at the Laboratory for Neutron Physics at JINR. He has authored over 150 scientific publications and two books on neutron physics. Visits and invited talks have taken him to international institutions such as NIST, Caltech, and other national laboratories and universities in USA, Europe and Japan. He is a member of the Russian Physical Society and of the Neutron Scattering Society in USA.

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