Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Ultrafast lasers

Lightning protection by laser

A field trial in the Swiss mountains demonstrating that an intense laser beam can guide lightning discharge over tens of metres gives hope for the development of a new form of mobile lightning protection.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Cooper, M. A. & Holle, R. L. Reducing Lightning Injuries Worldwide (Springer, 2019).

  2. Rudden, J. Homeowner insurance claims paid out due to lightning losses in the United States from 2006 to 2021. Statista (2022).

  3. Rakov, V. A., Uman, M. A. & Rambo, K. J. Atmos. Res. 76, 503–517 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Ball, L. M. Appl. Opt. 13, 2292–2295 (1974).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Strickland, D. & Mourou, G. Opt. Commun. 56, 219–221 (1985).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Kasparian, J. et al. Opt. Express 16, 5757–5763 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Houard, A. et al. Nat Photon. (2023).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Braun, A. et al. Opt. Lett. 20, 73–75 (1995).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Couairon, A. & Mysyrowicz, A. Phys. Rep. 441, 47–189 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Rodriguez, M. et al. Opt. Lett. 27, 772–774 (2002).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Saraceno, C. J., Sutter, D., Metzger, T. & Ahmed, M. A. J. Eur. Opt. Soc. Rapid Publ. 15, 15 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cord L. Arnold.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Arnold, C.L., Saraceno, C.J. & de Barros, M.T.C. Lightning protection by laser. Nat. Photon. 17, 211–212 (2023).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing