In the US, they create a laser system that will scare the enemy with sound

03/22/2018 Defense One and Ars Technica reported that the Pentagon’s non-lethal weapons laboratory (JNLWD) is close to creating a new type of laser-plasma weapon, one of the main damaging factors of which will be sound.

Pentagon experts are convinced that the new “wunder waffle” created at the junction of optics and acoustics will be able to replace several types of non-lethal weapons of the US Army at once. The development is based on the application of laser-induced plasma effects. Under the cat in detail about the plasma installation from Quantico.

Operating principle

David Lowe, chief technology officer at JNLWD, said the weapon consists of two modules: a femtosecond laser that generates plasma and a nanolaser that allows it to be controlled.

For 10-15 seconds, a femtosecond laser generates short pulses of focused light, which allows you to tear electrons from the nuclei and create a plasma. The plasma ball that appeared after this is exposed to a nanolaser, which is tuned to a narrow wavelength range. This provides the ability to manipulate the plasma field to get sound and bright flashes at a great distance from the emitter.

How this happens is demonstrated in the video.

Remote "bible bush" for the US Army

The authors of the Defense One article argue that some of the noise that scientists have been able to get is reminiscent of human speech. Journalists have already nicknamed the installation "an indelible bush", because it, like the Old Testament bush, will be able to broadcast something like: "Surrender, resistance is useless," and at the same time dazzle and spoil uniforms with high temperature. David Lowe reports that in the near future (2-3 years), his installation will reproduce human speech:
«Мы близки к тому, чтобы заставить его говорить с нами. Мне нужны три или четыре килогерца», утверждает ученый.
Researchers have many hopes for this effect, given that depending on the power of the installation, it can “attack” the enemy at a distance of one to tens of kilometers. Answering questions about the firing range, David Lowe said the following:
«Диапазон — это функция оптики. Чем больше зеркала, тем дальше расстояние, — сказал Закон. Пятидюймовое зеркало создает эффект примерно в одном километре; 8-дюймовое зеркало, около пяти километров… Это первое несмертельное оружие, которое может работать на расстоянии десятков километров».
According to the physicist, long distances are largely achieved due to the Kerr effect.

142 dB from the bible bush

I was not too impressed with the Laser-induced plasma effect, which the installation allows to obtain in the laboratory ... Until I looked at the results of control measurements.

Demonstration of laboratory test installation

Already, the prototype of the device creates a plasma ball 10 meters from the installation, which is capable of emitting waves with a sound pressure of 142 dB. It has a relatively bright flash and is able to burn holes in the uniform of the enemy. In other words, now it’s a very expensive stun grenade, which in theory can be thrown 10-20 kilometers.

Russian roots?

Without simulated patriotism, we can say that research on the creation of plasma by femtosecond lasers in the Russian Federation was carried out 10 years ago. I do not know whether it came to the development of prototype weapons, but several impressive studies on this subject have been written for sure.

One of them is the dissertation of the Russian physicist Ivan Andreevich Makarov for the degree of candidate of physical and mathematical sciences "Generation of high-temperature plasma and mass transfer of ablated particles when a sequence of high-intensity femtosecond laser pulses acts on solid targets in a gaseous medium." Which he defended in 2008.

Unfortunately, I do not understand the topic enough to judge whether this study affected the work of David Lowe. The researchers’s works are related by the principle of plasma production due to the action of a femtosecond laser and work with objects in air (gas), and not in vacuum.


Field trials are still a long way off, but it is likely that new weapons will work. I can hardly imagine whether it is possible to seriously scare the enemy with speech from a distance. But it is obvious that such a weapon can provide a certain effect. According to the optimistic opinion of the developers, serial samples of these weapons will be able to replace all existing non-lethal weapons in the US Army. And we can only hope that the new principles can be applied in peaceful technology.