Laser beams can divert lightning flashes - UU Press release

2023-01-19

A powerful laser aimed at the sky can create a virtual lightning rod and divert lightning flashes, according to experiments carried out by researchers on a mountain in Switzerland. The results are now published in the scientific journal Nature Photonics and may pave the way for better lightning protection measures for critical infrastructure such as power plants and airports.

Today, the Franklin rod is the most common design for lightning protection. It consists of a mast of conductive metal that catches the lightning and directs it into the ground. The idea of using intense laser pulses instead of a traditional lightning rod has previously been tested in laboratories.

Vernon Cooray, professor of electricity at the Department of Electrical Engineering, is one of the researchers who have now tested whether this is something that works in real thunderstorms, outside the lab.

Read UU´s press release "Laser beams can divert lightning flashes" in Swedish 

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Last modified: 2023-11-20