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Plasma in Upper Atmosphere


Modeling and Experimental Research on Acoustic Wave-Driven Plasma Processes in the Upper Layers of the Atmosphere

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • PHY-PLS/Plasma Physics/Physics
  • PHY-RAW/Radiofrequency Waves/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Applied Problems of Physics, Armenia, Yerevan


  • Pennsylvania State University, USA, PA, University Park\nCNRS / Laboratoire de Physique et Chemie de L'Environnement, France, Orleans

Project summary

In the region of space surrounding the Earth, many phenomena occur that significantly influence human activity. Solar flares and geomagnetic storms influence not only the biosystem, but also affect the operation of terrestrial devices such as power grids. During strong magnetic storms, the number of streaming charged particles impinging upon the upper atmosphere increases by several orders of magnitude. Understanding related biophysical mechanisms—i.e., the influence of solar and geomagnetic activity on people and the biosphere—is one of the fundamental research problems in the natural sciences. Numerous researchers also have shown that the ionosphere responds to and/or is affected by earthquakes, volcanoes, nuclear or chemical detonations, flights of rockets, etc., but the nature of the perturbations from these source terms on the ionosphere is rather broad.

One of the poorly understood perturbations is that of the influence of acoustic waves on processes in the ionosphere and the upper atmosphere. In addition, it is very important to determine the possible role of acoustic waves in creating flashes in the upper layers of the atmosphere and the response in the optical and microwave range caused by infrasound waves.

In this project, we propose the following tasks:

  1. To investigate the gas discharge in air, oxygen, and nitrogen in the presence of an acoustic wave at different values of gas pressure, current, and intensity of sound. This research will allow us to recreate “sprites” in the gas discharge under laboratory conditions in order to determine the acoustic wave intensity and the concentration and temperature of the electrons at which they are formed.
  2. To investigate the gas discharge in air, oxygen, and nitrogen in a stream of gas at various pressures (with different mixtures of gases) and currents. This research on the discharge in a stream of gas will result in “sprites” under laboratory conditions and a determination of optimum parameters (gas pressure, concentration and temperature of electrons, and speed of the gas stream) at which they are formed.
  3. To experimentally research the influence of intense acoustic waves on an atmosphere with the purpose of detecting a response in the form of optical and microwave radiation. As a result of this research, confirmation will be received that the creation of sprites may be caused by acoustic waves generated by hurricanes, tornadoes, powerful thunderstorms, etc.
  4. To provide the technical details on designing and fabricating a field-portable device for the measurement of optical and microwave radiation from the upper atmosphere, which will be based on the results of research on optical and microwave radiation from an atmosphere in a laboratory installation. The fabricated device will allow for the measurement of optical and microwave radiation from an atmosphere to determine the beginning of the development of catastrophic ecological processes.

Successful performance of our proposed research tasks will be accomplished by piding them into two components:
  1. Experimental modeling via laboratory research.
  2. Natural measurements.

In project Goals and Objectives of ISTC be realized following.

Providing weapons scientists and engineers in the CIS, particularly those who possess knowledge and skills related to weapons of mass destruction, opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities. Promoting integration of scientists of CIS states into the international scientific community. Supporting basic and applied research and technology development for peaceful purposes, notably in fields of environmental protection, energy production, nuclear safety. Contributing to the solution of national or international technical problems. Reinforcing the transition to market-based economies responsive to civil needs.

Innovation Information

At end of this project, we plan to provide the technical specifications for designing and constructing a multidisciplinary field portable device for the measurement of optical and microwave radiation from the upper atmosphere. This instrument will be based on the results of the research of optical and microwave radiation from an atmosphere and laboratory installation.

The constructed device will allow the measurement of optical and microwave radiation from an atmosphere to determine the onset of catastrophic ecological processes and to warn about a approaching disasters

Role of Foreign Collaborators

Consistent with the scope of activities of the project proposal as described above, specify the scope of cooperation with a foreign institution(s):

  • information exchange in the course of project implementation;
  • provide comments to the technical reports (quarterly, annual final, etc.), submitted by project participants to the ISTC;
  • cross-checks of results obtained in the course of project implementation;
  • assistance and material support for project participants to join international meetings;
  • conduction of joint seminars and workshops.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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