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Real-life 'Death Star' laser vaporizes matter


Posted on Thursday, 9 May, 2019 | Comment icon 9 comments

Perhaps the Death Star isn't so far-fetched after all... Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 BarricadeCaptures / Flickr
Scientists in Romania have built the world's most powerful laser with an output of over 10 petawatts.
The ridiculously powerful device, which was built as part of Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project, is able to put out a tenth of the power of the Sun - the equivalent of 10 million billion watts - and is the most powerful laser, as well as the most concentrated power, humanity has ever built.

Funded by the European Commission, the laser resides in a specially built facility called the Extreme Light Infrastructure Nuclear Physics facility (ELI-NP) in the Romanian town of Magurele.

It is so powerful that it is capable of literally vaporizing matter, however it is unlikely that scientists intend to harness the technology for use in weapons. Instead, the laser's main purpose will be to assist scientific research in various fields including medicine, radioactivity and particle physics.

Incredibly, scientists are hoping to make the laser even more powerful by combining two 10PW beams together to deliver "focused laser intensities of up to 10^23 watts per square centimeter, at a wavelength of 820 nanometers and pulse lengths of 25 femtoseconds."

There are even plans to build an even more powerful laser at another location in the future.

A news piece about the project that was filmed last year can be viewed below.


Source: Extreme Tech | Comments (9)

Tags: Petawatt, Laser

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Nnicolette on 9 May, 2019, 13:18
This reminds me of the tale that i heard long ago of people who were able to form sturdy underground habitations by vitrifying tunnels. I always thought it was a wonderful idea and i wish that this would be used for such.
Comment icon #2 Posted by mdbuilder on 9 May, 2019, 13:20
"There are even plans to build an even more powerful laser at another location in the future." I suppose development and testing facilities get pretty trashed after a while...
Comment icon #3 Posted by Impedancer on 9 May, 2019, 14:08
Lets build it  https://images.app.goo.gl/yWQDiXei4NkMXYP16
Comment icon #4 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year on 9 May, 2019, 14:33
Of course not! /sarcasm
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin on 9 May, 2019, 18:46
As we progress in the high energy beam weapons technologies, all I can say is... "Goodbye to rouge-nation ICBM effectiveness"
Comment icon #6 Posted by smokeycat on 10 May, 2019, 9:20
Rouge-nation? I didn't know Can-Can dancers were that deadly.
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 10 May, 2019, 10:16
"Rogue"... my bad.
Comment icon #8 Posted by joc on 10 May, 2019, 10:17
It is just amazing stuff.  The building and everything in it ...actually the whole entire property is designed for the lasers.   I think the construction of the building is actually more interesting than the lasers inside of it.
Comment icon #9 Posted by fred_mc on 11 May, 2019, 13:40
Wow, "one of the research targets is the forming of heavy elements, like gold, platinum, uranium." Just before, the same person is talking about reaching the power of supernova explosions. That doesn't completely add up I think, supernova explosions "only" form elements like carbon and iron. As far as I know, you need power like when two neutron stars are colliding to form gold.


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