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Laser Lightning: Breakthrough Experiment Guides Lightning Discharges with High-Intensity Laser Pulses

Scientists have successfully demonstrated that laser-induced filaments in the sky can guide lightning discharges over long distances, potentially leading to progress in lightning protection and physics. The research, conducted on a mountain in Switzerland using a high-repetition-rate terawatt laser, recorded the guidance of an upward negative lightning leader over a distance of 50m and was corroborated by other measurements. This is the first field-result to experimentally demonstrate lightning guided by lasers, opening the possibility for new atmospheric applications of ultrashort lasers.

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