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Making clouds with lasers

Researchers inspired by classic particle physics experiment

Shooting lasers at the sky can make the germ of a raincloud, a new study shows. In an experiment that smacks of science fiction, scientists used a high-powered laser to squeeze water from air, both indoors and out.

Although the technique is unlikely to be an instant rainmaker anytime soon, it could plant the seeds for more eco-friendly cloud manipulation.

“This is the first time that a laser was used to condense water from both laboratory experiments and from the atmosphere,” says Jér´me Kasparian of the University of Geneva, a coauthor of the study. The work appeared in the May 2 Nature Photonics.

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