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Laser Method Promising for Detecting Trace Chemicals in Air

Artistic rendering of the avalanche process. Initial electrons present in the laser focus (black/white background) are accelerated and gain sufficient energy to liberate electrons from neutral air molecules (shown in blue). With time, the process repeats in a cascade, leading to a breakdown spark with many free electrons in the vicinity of each seed electron. Credit: E. Edwards/JQI
Artistic rendering of the avalanche process. Initial electrons present in the laser focus (black/white background) are accelerated and gain sufficient energy to liberate electrons from neutral air molecules (shown in blue). With time, the process repeats in a cascade, leading to a breakdown spark with many free electrons in the vicinity of each seed electron. Credit: E. Edwards/JQI

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