Shooting lightning out of the sky

24 septiembre 2015

A team of researchers has demonstrated new techniques that bring lasers as lighting rods closer to reality. When a powerful laser beam shoots through the air, it ionizes the molecules, leaving a thin trail of hot, ionized particles in its wake. Because this stream of plasma conducts electricity, it could be used to channel away a potentially damaging lightning bolt. The researchers found ways to make the length of such a plasma channel reach more than 10 times longer — a necessary advance for using the channel to redirect a lightning strike.