French scientists have devised a way to divert lightning strikes to places where they do not cause any harm, by using a super laser that directs these strikes from thunderclouds.
Scientists say that the new technology can save power plants, airports, launch pads and other buildings from disasters, in addition to that it can prevent losses estimated at billions of dollars, reports Al-Rai daily.
Experts added that the system creates a virtual path for lightning strikes, which are metal conductors that intercept thunder flashes and direct their currents to the ground.
Scientists confirmed that the technology expands the current understanding of atmospheric laser physics, and may help develop new strategies for lightning protection.
Experts showed a series of experiments in directing lightning by laser, on the summit of Mount Santis in northeastern Switzerland, in six hours of operation during thunderstorms, and observed that the laser diverted four lightning discharges ascending from the 400-foot tower.
The results were confirmed by using the high-frequency electromagnetic waves generated by lightning to locate the strikes after they were directed.
The scientists added that the laser works by generating a long channel, called laser filaments, towards the clouds, which acts as a preferred path for lightning strikes, and keeps them away from vulnerable locations.