For the first time… directing lightning with lasers (photo)
For the first time, scientists have managed to direct lightning at thunderclouds using laser pulses, paving the way for protecting buildings from the risk of fire, according to a statement released by the Polytechnic Institute in Paris.
An experiment carried out last year on a mountaintop in Switzerland involved firing high-power laser pulses into thunderclouds over several months.
The scientists noted that the success of these experiments paves the way for the development of laser lightning protection systems in airports, launch pads and high-rise buildings.
Although in many places metal rods are used for lightning protection, the protection range is limited to a few meters or tens of meters.
Polytechnic physicist Orlin Howard hopes to extend this protection hundreds of meters with lasers.
The lightning that accompanies thunderstorms often strikes different parts of the world and kills many people every year, knowing that lightning carries a huge electrical charge.
More than a billion lightning strikes the Earth each year, killing thousands of people, causing ten times more damage and tens of billions of dollars, according to The Guardian.
In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Photonics, Howard and his colleagues described how he and his colleagues moved to the top of Mount Santis in northeastern Switzerland and placed it next to a 124-meter communications tower that had been struck by lightning. 100 times a year.
Scientists waited for thunderstorms to gather and fired fast laser pulses at thunderclouds for a total of more than six hours between July and September last year.
Instruments that were prepared to record lightning strikes showed that the laser shifted the path of four lightning strikes during the experiments, following the lightning along the laser’s path by about 50 meters.
During testing, air traffic over the test site was shut down because the laser was powerful enough to pose a risk to the pilots’ eyes.
Reflection of lightning by a laser lightning rod.
European consortium led by l’X, @UNIGEnews, @EPFL_ru & @TRUMPF_News managed to direct lightning using a powerful laser mounted on top of Mount Santis in Switzerland.
– Polytechnic School (@Polytechnique) January 16, 2023
Source: Media + Twitter