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Feb 6, 2019

This 2,000 trillion watt laser could re-create the Big Bang–and make clean energy

Posted by in categories: cosmology, solar power, sustainability

The most powerful laser beam ever created has been recently fired at Osaka University in Japan, where the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX) has been boosted to produce a beam with a peak power of 2,000 trillion watts—two petawatts—for an incredibly short duration, approximately a trillionth of a second or one picosecond.

Values this large are difficult to grasp, but we can think of it as a billion times more powerful than a typical stadium floodlight or as the overall power of all of the sun’s solar energy that falls on London. Imagine focusing all that solar power onto a surface as wide as a human hair for the duration of a trillionth of a second: that’s essentially the LFEX laser.

LFEX is only one of a series of ultra-high power lasers that are being built across the world, ranging from the gigantic 192-beam National Ignition Facility in California, to the CoReLS laser in South Korea, and the Vulcan laser at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory outside Oxford, UK, to mention but a few.

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