Airbus partners with Lamda Guard to evaluate an innovative laser strike protection

A breakthrough technology that could protect pilots from potentially hazardous laser sources will be evaluated by Airbus through an agreement signed with Canadian-based Lamda Guard.

13 June 2014 Feature story

Utilizing nano-structured metamaterials, Lamda Guard has designed innovative thin films that can be applied to any transparent surface – such as the interior of an aircraft’s cockpit windshield – to control unwanted light sources, while not interfering with visibility. 

Metamaterials are specifically engineered to exhibit properties that may be not found naturally, including how they absorb, reflect or enhance light.  Only a fraction of the width of human hair, Lamda Guard’s films contain hundreds of layers of uniquely designed nanostructures that interact with laser beams, deflecting harmful light – even at high power levels – from any angle. 

According to a recently released study by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) there were nearly 4,000 laser-strike incidents to aircraft in the country last year – a more than 1,200-percent increase compared to 2005 levels. In a laser strike, harmful light is pointed directly into the cockpit, potentially causing disorientation or injury to pilots during critical phases of flight such as takeoff or landing. 

“At Airbus, we are always on the lookout for new ideas coming from such innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as Lamda Guard,” said Yann Barbaux, Airbus’ Chief Innovation Officer, who detailed the agreement at this month’s Airbus Innovation Days, attended by international journalists in Toulouse, France. “We are very pleased to explore the potential application of this solution to our aircraft, for the benefit of our customers.”

Lamda Guard has worked with Canada’s University of Moncton and the University of New Brunswick – as well as stakeholders, investors and other financial supporters – to highlight the benefits of nano-composites.  It is one of the first companies to move optic meta-materials from the academic community to potential commercial applications that benefit from nano-composites.  Lamda Guard hopes to help create a metamaterial centre of excellence in Atlantic Canada, which is the region of Canada comprising the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, as well as Newfoundland, and Labrador.