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June 15, 2021 Tuesday 11:13:48 AM IST

High Power Laster to Deflect Lightning

Science Innovations

A European consortium plans to create and develop high-power laser that will create ionized channels in the atmosphere and redirect light away from sensitive areas. The laser will be installed on the summit of the Santis in the canton of Appenzell (Switzerland). It will be tested during June to September 2021 during the peak thunderstorm season. Despite the huge losses caused by lightning in sensitive areas such as power stations and airports, the present technology utilises a lightning rod invented 300 years ago by Benjamin Franklin. The new Laser Lightning Rod project aims to explore the use of virtual lightning rod: a high-powered laser which, by ionizing the air, creates a conductive channel aiming at deflecting lightning away from the site to be protected. Among the organizations involved in the project include University of Geneva (UNIGE), Ecole Polytechnic, France, TRUMPF Scientific Lasers, Germany.