Experimental laser can turn the atmosphere into a magnifying glass

The laser system being developed by BAE Systems will be able to multiply the ability of reconnaissance aircraft to detect targets on the ground by creating the effect of a "lens" floating in the air, which, like optics, will magnify objects. The same installation will be able to generate a mirrored deflector shield that protects aircraft from enemy lasers.

We are talking about the technology LDAL (Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens), which means "laser atmospheric lens". It is created by heating an area of ​​the atmosphere with a high-pulse laser. In physics, this phenomenon is called the Kerr effect.

The applications of technology are impressive. A reconnaissance aircraft flying at high altitude with the help of a pulsed onboard laser creates an invisible magnifying glass in the sky, heating the air over the desired object. The image of the object is enlarged for a while, after which the laser is turned off and the lens disappears.

At the same time, LDAL technology can perform defensive functions. So, if the action of a laser from a flying aircraft is recorded on a ground or surface object, then a similar ground laser forms a protective lens on its path, which changes the trajectory of the beam.