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Japanese team fires world's most powerful laser

Staff writer |
A team of researchers and engineers at Japan's Osaka University have successfully fired what they are claiming is the world's most powerful laser.

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In their paper published in the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion in 2012, the team described their laser and how it works.

The team now reports that they fired the laser, called the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments or LFEX, for a very short period of time—a pulse of just a trillionth of a second. But that pulse was a doozy, emitting 2-petawatts of power, or put another way 2 quadrillion watts.

The new laser is approximately 300 feet long, taking up most of a large room, but for such a short pulse it does not need much energy, approximately as much as a microwave oven over a few seconds.

The research team said that not only does the laser generate approximately twice as much power as a similar rival laser at the University of Texas, but has approximately 100 times as much energy.

The team reports also that their configuration is only the beginning, they plan to create stronger and stronger lasers with a goal of achieving 10 petawatts.

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