Scientists Working Toward Guiding Lightning Away from Buildings

University of Arizona and University of Central Florida scientists are creating a new method that is capable of transmitting high-intensity laser beams through the atmosphere than what is currently possible. The goal of the project is to be able to guide electrical discharges, like lightning, away from buildings where lightning rods are limited.

Currently, lasers that are able to produce the intense amount of power needed to guide electrical discharges can only travel several inches up to a foot. This new technology being developed embeds a high-intensity laser beam inside a second laser beam that is lower in intensity. The lower intensity beam, called a dress beam, replenishes the primary beam with energy and allows the primary beam to travel further than previously able to travel. The team was able to extend the range of the filament from 10 inches to 7 feet.

Read more about the technology the scientists have been developed to extend the distance a high-intensity beam can travel.