Published on 04 April 2011 by Bert Hickman

During one of our 2011 production runs we tried irradiating a pair of 2.5" diameter aspheric glass lenses using a 5 MeV electron beam. The irradiated portion of the glass turned a dark brown color, an effect called solarization. Both specimens successfully held the injected charge without self-discharging. However, when we tried to discharge
them using a tungsten carbide point, both specimens exploded into a shower of fragments. Other glass specimens that we had irradiated on previous occasions often discharged properly, but then spontaneously exploded into sharp fragments hours, days, or sometimes even months, later. Because of the hazards associated with glass Captured Lightning sculptures, we do not offer these to the public. Besides, the internal Lichtenberg Figures aren't nearly as pretty as the figures formed within Plexiglas (PMMA).

This video clip was captured by Colleen Kobe. Other participants in the video include (R to L) Bert Hickman, Bill Hathaway, Sam Paris, and Todd Johnson.

You can see more about how we make our Captured Lightning sculptures in our other videos or at

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