Researchers develop long-range laser technology

Optical scientists have developed a new laser technology that could one day be used to guide lightning away from buildings.

Researchers, led by Maik Scheller from the UA College of Optical Sciences, found a way to send high-intensity laser beams through the atmosphere farther than was previously achievable.

They embed a primary, high-intensity laser beam inside a second beam of lower intensity. As the primary beam travels through the air, the second beam refuels it with energy and sustains the primary beam over much greater distances than before possible.

As they travel they leave a plasma trail which – if scaled up beyond the lab experiments – could be used to divert lightning away from buildings and other objects.

Read more at University of Arizona