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World's most powerful laser set to TRIPLE its power

CAPSLOCKSTUCK

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#1
The most intense laser in the world is about to become twice or even three times as powerful, thanks to a $2 million contribution from the National Science Foundation.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and collaborators from around the world plan to upgrade the power of the HERCULES laser from 300 trillion watts (300 terawatts), to 500 or even 1,000 TW.

With more laser energy to focus, researchers can make smaller, tabletop-sized devices that produce particles and X-ray beams for medical and national security applications, as well as exploring unanswered mysteries in astrophysics and the quantum field





According the University of Michigan (U-M), the power of the HERCULES laser comes from a series of five embedded 'pump' lasers that amplify ultrashort pulses of light.

To upgrade HERCULES' power, the researchers will replace three of those custom made pumps with commercial pumps.

If HERCULES can achieve a power level of 1,000 TW, it would once again be amongst the most powerful lasers in the US, after it won the Guinness World Records title for the 'highest intensity focused laser' in 2008.

The laser's current intensity is 20 sextillion watts per centimeter squared, but the improved laser should have double or triple this intensity.

When U-M engineers first built HERCULES in 2007, the commercial pump lasers the system relies on couldn't reach the, at the time, record-breaking 300 TW power that the researchers had in mind.

So, they had to build their own pump lasers.

Now, driven by a demand from international projects seeking power levels north of 10,000 TW, commercial pump lasers can outperform the custom made version used in HERCULES today.

Some of the applications of the more powerful laser include the creation of tabletop accelerators.

While conventional particle accelerators are hundreds of kilometers long, such as CERN's 27-kilometer (16.7 miles) long Large Hadron Collider, laser light can power the acceleration of particles and produce other high-energy beams such as X-rays in just a few square yards or less.

Particle and X-ray beams can be used to determine the presence of nuclear materials in shipping containers arriving at ports, and they're also used for medical treatments such as radiation therapy.


High-energy X-ray beams emitted by laser accelerators could also enable advanced X-ray imaging that can identify boundaries between different types of soft tissue in the body such as the lungs and the heart - unlike conventional X-rays which are best at picking out dense materials like bone.

This method would be cheaper and faster than MRI scans, according to the U-M researchers.

Aside from these practical applications, the more intense laser could be used to learn more about astrophysics mysteries as well as quantum electrodynamics - the study of light and its interactions with matter.

'This upgrade enables a wide variety of different experiments,' said Karl Krushelnick, U-M professor of nuclear engineering and radiological science and director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, which houses HERCULES.

'There are these exciting applications, and it also opens up a new regime at the very frontier of plasma physics, where quantum phenomena start to play an important role.'


https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-all-set-to-dial-up-the-world-s-most-intense-laser-to-11
 
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#2

qubit

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#3
Goddam, you could almost make a black hole with that thing! :eek:
 
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#4
Well, in theory it can collide particles just as easy as an particle accelerator but with a fraction of the area required.
 

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#5
I just wonder how what the power source is. Lasers are pretty simple...it's the backside that's complicated.