The FET-OPEN Laser Lightning Rod project (LLR)

The FET-OPEN Laser Lightning Rod project (LLR)

Power outages, forest fires, electronic and infrastructure damages, personal injuries… Controlling lightning is a long time dream of mankind. Although lightning protection techniques have seen considerable progress in the past, the best external lightning protection to date is still based on the concept of the lightning rod, invented by Benjamin Franklin almost 300 years ago.

The LLR project aims to investigate and develop a new type of lightning protection using a laser-based technique to stimulate the number of upward lightning flashes with the aim of transferring cloud charges to the ground and thus to influence the incidence of downward natural lightning.

For a detailed presentation of the project see: The European Physical Journal, Applied Physics 92, 30501 (2021)

Latest news

  • Article dans La Liberté

    Au Säntis, le laser détourne la foudre Un consortium constitué autour de physiciens de l’Université de Genève veut révolutionner le paratonnerre. Link to the article

  • Article in CNN.com

    Scientists are trying to control lightning with a giant laser

  • Article in Optics and Photonics News

    Can a “Super Laser” Tame Lightning? “The Germany-based laser and machine tool behemoth Trumpf announced that—working with scientists at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and other organizations—it has hauled a 5-ton, 9-m-long “super laser” to the top of Säntis mountain in the Swiss Alps, and has installed and fired up the terawatt-scale light source. The ultimate goal of this audacious exercise: Demonstrate the ability of lasers to control and safely redirect lightning strikes…” Link to the article

  • First experiment with the laser on Mont Saentis

    First images of the laser LLR laser firing up on the Saentis Mountain.

  • TV report on SRF

    Laserkanone auf dem Säntis soll zum modernen Blitzableiter werden Ein Forscherteam will mit einem riesigen Laser Blitze gezielt leiten. Eine Testanlage steht auf dem Säntis.

  • Video: Installation of the LLR experiment on the Saentis Mountain

    “Installé depuis le 18 mai au sommet du Säntis, dans les cantons d’Appenzell et St-Gall, un laser haute puissance vise à déclencher des éclairs et à guider la foudre loin des zones sensibles. Ce projet, intitulé «Laser Lightning Rod», est mené par un consortium européen dans lequel l’UNIGE a un rôle central. Des membres de la Section de physique de l’UNIGE ont participé au développement ainsi qu’au montage de la structure extérieure de l’expérience, dont certains éléments ont été installés…

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