I am not very educated in this subject, so I apologize in advance if what I am asking is obvious/incorrect/duplicated.

I am interested in volumetric displays, and was doing some research when I came across this post, which explains that nitrogen requires light with a wavelength of ~88nm or less to ionize (which to my understanding is not safe).

It also talks about using multiple laser beams in order to achieve the same effect, but (and I'm sorry about this) I couldn't understand what the poster meant. Additionally, I am trying to calculate how much energy is required to ionize a small, spherical volume (~1mm in diameter) of nitrogen, and can't figure out how to apply that post's information to this.

Basically, my questions are:

  • How would you go about ionizing the gas while using multiple beams? Could you make each beam with a higher wavelength and combine them (i.e. two 176nm beams)?
  • How long does it take (for the electron to jump to a higher energy level and then "fall back") to release a photon?
  • Can you target specific electrons/energy levels so the light release by the "falling" electron is of a higher wavelength?
  • Does the air between the laser and the target point force the multiple weaker lasers (if that is possible) to be more powerful or does it not matter?

If any clarifications are needed just ask, and any help is greatly appreciated!

  • $\begingroup$ Related: How do people Ionize with higher watt lasers? $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Nov 26 '17 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie Thanks for that post! I read it, but I got a little confused. How did he calculate the constant intensity (2.44 x 10^12 W/cm^2)? Also, based on his calculations, 1 mJ @ 1Khz is enough to start ionizing a substantial amount. Applying the same logic, if I had two beams, each with 0.5 mJ @ 1Khz, would the same effect occur when they crossed? $\endgroup$ – 0x22fe Nov 26 '17 at 19:28

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