Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Early Streamer Emission Lightning Protection Systems: An Overview



Richard J. Van Brunt, Thomas L. Nelson, Ken L. Stricklett


Early streamer emission (ESE) lightning protection systems are a relatively new approach to the perennial problem of lightining damage, and these systems may hold promise for a more effective protection against lighting. However, the scientific and technical basis for this improved performance is far from certain and the efficacy of these technologies remains open to question. In this paper we examine the physical basis for ESE devices and identify areas of controversy and gaps in our knowledge of lightning and lightning protection that need to be considered in assessing ESE devices and in their future development. The ESE devices considered here are lightning attractors, and in that sense, their purpose is the same as that of conventional lightning rods. ESE devices, however, differ from conventional lightning rods in that they are equipped in some fashion to increase the efficiency of lightning attraction and thereby to extend the effective range of protection over and above that of conventional lightning rods. This article is based on a comprehensive bibliography of ESE lightning protection-systems that was prepared-at-the request of the National Fire-Protection Research Foundation (1); the reader is referred to that report for a critical analysis of the published literature. Most of the papers on ESE terminals have been published within the last 30 years, and bibliographies covering the years before 1980 (2.3) reveal very little work directly concerned with ESE terminals.
IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine


air terminal, early streamer emission, Franklin rod, lightening protection, lightening rod


Van Brunt, R. , Nelson, T. and Stricklett, K. (2000), Early Streamer Emission Lightning Protection Systems: An Overview, IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created December 31, 1999, Updated October 12, 2021