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.