Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Most Intense Laser in the Universe - So Far

This is where if anyone doesn't understand physics, or the language being used in laser optics, one could easily get misled by the title.

The people on HERCULES laser at the University of Michigan has claimed to have created the most intense laser pulse in the universe {link may be available for free only for a limited time}.

The intensity of a laser beam is the amount of energy it delivers per unit time per unit area. This record-breaking beam actually has very low energy — at just 20 joules, it is less than the 8,000 joules stored in a tic tac — but the energy is squeezed into a tiny spot (1.3 micrometres in diameter, about a hundred time thinner than a human hair) for a very short time, just 30 femtoseconds (10-15 seconds). So the beam has an intensity of 2 x 1022 watts per square centimetre: two orders of magnitude more intense than achieved before.

It will be nice if there's an immediate application for it.



Kent Leung said...

photon collider? or is it still 3 orders of magnitude too weak?!

optical-technologies said...

I guess you mean 10e22 W/cm2, 1022W/cm2 is not big, a laser pointer could do it.

the immediate application is of course controlled fusion, and that's the point of this type of laboratories.

There are other like this one over the world, including the laser megajoule in france. They are planning to build an even more powerful here in Europe, it will be called the laser HIPER