London: Struggling to control mosquitoes even after using repellent sprays and nets? Don't worry, soon you could use an ultimate deterrent -- -- a laser defence system which is cost-effective and could protect a bigger area.

The "laser wall", being developed by Szabolcs Marka of the Columbia University, can project a "cone" of light that could surround and shield an entire family as they slept -- more effectively than any previous system.

Several years ago, Marka had the idea that light could deter and repel mosquitoes by confusing their sensory systems.

Marka, together with his wife ZsuZsa and colleague Imre Bartos created a laser barrier, or light wall, which mosquitoes won't cross, the Daily Mail reported.

"We stumbled on this. They (mosquitoes) do walk or fly into it. Then they turn back. They don't want to cross it," Marka said of the project.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is battling the spread of malaria, is so convinced by the idea that it has given a USD 1 million grant to Marka's project.

Makra's method is proving to be cost-effective as a large array could protect a large area. But, he is not sure why the light wall works. "The mosquitoes are probably scared," he said.

According to the Gates Foundation, nearly one million people die of malaria every year, with 90 percent being in Africa, and 85 percent children under five.

(Agencies)