UA research working on lightning protection - Tucson News Now

UA research working on lightning protection

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It starts fires, damages property and knocks out power. Now, local research lights a path to a kind of lightning protection.

University of Arizona researchers are working on technology capable of sending powerful laser beams through the atmosphere.

If they can make it happen, it could one day guide lightning away from buildings.

Right now, most lasers with the intense amount of power needed are only able to travel a few inches or feet at best.

UA College of Optical Sciences Assistant Research Professor, Maik Scheller, said it would help where existing technology like lightning rods are limited.

"There are cases where you can't do this, close to an airport or a space shuttle which is about to land, you can't stick a metal rod there because it may fall down," Scheller said Wednesday.

A grant by the U.S. Department of Defense is helping fund the local research.

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