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Old 06-11-2019, 08:21 PM   #1
doctorevilbrain
 
Join Date: May 2009
Default (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

More importantly, how dangerous are they? They seem to me to be too dangerous to stop criminals. The though of being zapped by them scares me. I would be worried if criminals got them.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

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Originally Posted by doctorevilbrain View Post
More importantly, how dangerous are they? They seem to me to be too dangerous to stop criminals. The though of being zapped by them scares me. I would be worried if criminals got them.
1) electrolasers are at the very least less dangerous than firearms, which criminals already have
2) the scientific foundation for electrolasers is pretty solid and some working prototypes have already been developed
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

They'd be about as dangerous as tasers. Whether you consider those too dangerous is going to be a judgment call.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
They'd be about as dangerous as tasers. Whether you consider those too dangerous is going to be a judgment call.
Aren't they pretty much just tasers that use a streak of ionized air instead of wire?
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

The big danger I see with electrolasers is the laser part. The ones in Ultratech have a laser powerful enough to cause burns, which not only could injure the target, but there is a risk of them starting fires. Even more worrisome, any laser powerful enough to ionize the atmosphere will probably also be a blinding risk. Those three factors make them more dangerous than tasers, but still less dangerous than firearms.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

Tasers can start fires, particularly if you zap someone soaked in alcohol, like someone drunk or covered in pepper spray from an attempt to drop them with it that failed.

The blinding threat is probably the thing with an electrolaser, but bad luck with a taser dart can blind, too.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

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Originally Posted by a humble lich View Post
The big danger I see with electrolasers is the laser part. The ones in Ultratech have a laser powerful enough to cause burns, which not only could injure the target, but there is a risk of them starting fires. Even more worrisome, any laser powerful enough to ionize the atmosphere will probably also be a blinding risk. Those three factors make them more dangerous than tasers, but still less dangerous than firearms.
They're Tight Beam Burning, so their capability at starting fires isn't what the raw number might seem to indicate before you factor the TBB effect.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:26 AM   #8
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

And we already have flashlights that can start fires, never mind lasers.

(Am I the only one that finds it odd that an objection to a weird technological device that invokes crackling ionization, electricity, and lasers comes from someone named "doctorevilbrain"? We're going to have to take away your Jacob's Ladder and Tesla coil.)
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

I looked into the science of these things a while back. As others mentioned, the "electro-" part is basically just a taser's electrical waveform. For the "-laser" part, what seems to work best are fairly wide (several cm) beams of pulsed ultraviolet light*. Choose a UV wavelength with enough energy that the absorption of two photons will ionize nitrogen, but a single photon has insufficient energy to do so. With a very short, intense flash, you can get two photon ionization for a distance of several tens of meters - even to 100+ meters - with enough charge carrier density to conduct your electric pulse but that has insufficient time-averaged intensity to cause thermal burns or start fires (from the laser beam - the electric arc from the EMD waveform might ignite easily flammable items). The UV light can't get past the cornea of the eye, making it fairly eye-safe, and you would need to be exposed to the beam for an extended duration in one spot in order to develop a sunburn.

A detailed investigation is given here
http://panoptesv.com/RPGs/Equipment/...ES_physics.php
Alternate rules that more realistically follow the physics are here
http://panoptesv.com/RPGs/Equipment/...php?TL=10&HR=0
and a conceptual picture of what one might look like is here
http://panoptesv.com/RPGs/Settings/V...ar/Stunner.png

Luke

* Narrow beams lead to higher ionization density in the air, which leads to much faster recombination times, which in turn leads to an increased power needed to keep the current-carrying channels capable of conducting the beam, which leads to a higher risk of thermal burns.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: (Ultra Tech) How realistic are Electrolasers?

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Tasers can start fires, particularly if you zap someone soaked in alcohol, like someone drunk or covered in pepper spray from an attempt to drop them with it that failed.
I recall one story of a guy who had stolen a bunch of stuff from a work site and then crashed the stolen work van he was using as his getaway vehicle, and came out with the intent to fight the cops. They tazed him.

While a lot of stupidity went into creating the guy's problems that day, the most relevant bit wisdom he ignored is probably "when making a getaway, always make sure your stolen gasoline cans are properly secured."
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