Lichtenberg Figures

Lichtenberg figures are branching, tree-like or fern-like patterns that are created by high voltage discharges along the surface, or inside, electrical insulators (dielectrics). The first Lichtenberg figures were actually 2-dimensional “dust figures” formed as dust settled on the surface of electrostatically charged resin plates in the laboratory of their discoverer, German physicist  Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799). Professor Lichtenberg made this observation in the late 1700’s, demonstrating the phenomenon to his physics students and peers. He reported his findings in his memoir: Super nova methodo naturam ac motum fluidi electrici investigandi (Göttinger Novi Commentarii, Göttingen, 1777). The physical principles involved in forming these electrostatic figures eventually became the modern science of plasma physics.

Read more: What are Lichtenberg Figures, and how are they Made?.


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