Remote steering of laser beams by radar- and laser-induced refractive-index gradients in the atmosphere
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Refractive-index gradients induced in the atmospheric air by properly tailored laser and microwave fields are shown to enable a remote steering of laser beams. Heatingassisted modulation of the refractive index of the air by microwave radiation is shown to support small-angle laser-beam bending with bending angles on the order of 10-2. Ionization of the atmospheric air by dyads of femto- and nanosecond laser pulses, on the other hand, can provide beam deflection angles in excess of /5, offering an attractive strategy for radiation transfer, free-space communications, and laser-based standoff detection. 2012 by Astro Ltd., published exclusively by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.