The laser deflects the beam

A year and a half ago, the Trumpf laser, which was pointed at the sky, was transported in parts and with the help of helicopters to the top of the Säntis mountain.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

stuttgart The mega laser from the Swabian manufacturer trump card it can actually discharge lightning. This is the result of a first scientific study published in the journal “Nature Photonics”.

A year and a half ago, the nine-meter-long, five-tonne laser was pointed into the sky and transported piecemeal and with the help of helicopters to the top of the Swiss mountain Säntis. The device was installed at a height of 2,500 meters on a 124-meter-tall telecommunication tower.

Since then, meteorological experiments have been carried out as part of the EU project “Laser Lightning Roof”. Data analysis by scientists in a team led by Aurélien Houard of the Laboratoire d’Optique Appliquée in Palaiseau, near Paris, and the University of Geneva, has now shown that the laser can effectively direct the beams. This is intended to better protect sensitive infrastructure from lightning strikes.

The study authors write: “We believe this experimental breakthrough will lead to breakthroughs in lightning protection and lightning physics.”

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A spokesperson for Trump explained: “By influencing the forces of nature in this way, we may soon be able to prevent billions in damage to airports or nuclear power plants.” The project shows the potential of laser technology made in Germany.

>> Also read: Laser and 3D printing: Trumpf discovers commercial space travel as a business

The idea of ​​using lasers for lightning protection has been around for almost 50 years. The use of lasers to guide beams was demonstrated in the laboratory in the late 1990s. However, outdoor attempts failed in both the US and Asia.

“One of the most powerful lasers in its class today”

The scientists attribute the fact that it now worked on the Säntis Mountain to the significantly higher repetition rate of the laser pulse compared to previous experiments. The laser used emitted light with a wavelength of approximately one micron (thousandths of a millimeter) and a repetition rate of 1,000 hertz.

The performance spectrum of the medium-sized company Trumpf ranges from lasers the size of a grain of sand for data transmission to the large superlaser of the Säntis.

trump lasers

The performance spectrum of the medium-sized company Trumpf ranges from lasers the size of a grain of sand for data transmission to the large superlaser of the Säntis.


(Photo: dpa)

Clemens Herkommer developed the mega laser in four years. Trumpf’s engineer praises the project: “The lightning rod is currently one of the most powerful lasers in its class.”

The Säntis was chosen for its exposed location during thunderstorms. “The tower, which receives lightning strikes about 100 times a year, is equipped with multiple sensors that record lightning current, electromagnetic fields at various distances, X-rays, and radiation sources from lightning discharges,” the authors write. of the study.

With four flashes recorded by high-speed cameras, the images show the beam coiling around the laser beam for more than 50 meters and then striking the tower’s lightning rod.

The researchers see evidence that lightning discharges can carry considerable distances. However, these preliminary results need to be confirmed by further series of tests.

More: Trump boss: “China’s attack on Taiwan must be the red line”

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