Originally Posted by alchemist
I was writing about a character who was almost zapped by a military laser, and wrote, almost instinctively, "It passed close, so close he could smell the ozone."
Could high powered lasers (or any energy weapon) in air make ozone? In the future, though; not now.
Yes, high-power lasers could. Many people think air is absolutely transparent and light passes through it without lost. But there is a tiny, little bit of lost energy which is converted to heat. But for a powerful light, like a military laser, a tiny, little bit becomes a big bit. This could ionize the air; create ozone; even create a plasma. And a really big laser could even produce a thunderclap. So, yes, it could happen.