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Laser vaporization of cirrus-like ice particles with secondary ice multiplication

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Science Advances  20 May 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 5, e1501912
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501912

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We investigate the interaction of ultrashort laser filaments with individual 90-μm ice particles, representative of cirrus particles. The ice particles fragment under laser illumination. By monitoring the evolution of the corresponding ice/vapor system at up to 140,000 frames per second over 30 ms, we conclude that a shockwave vaporization supersaturates the neighboring region relative to ice, allowing the nucleation and growth of new ice particles, supported by laser-induced plasma photochemistry. This process constitutes the first direct observation of filament-induced secondary ice multiplication, a process that strongly modifies the particle size distribution and, thus, the albedo of typical cirrus clouds.

  • ultrashort laser
  • ultrafast optics
  • laser filamentation
  • ice particle
  • cirrus
  • Nucleation

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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