Scientists claim that they have successfully tested a $48 million “super laser,” deemed 10 times more powerful than any other laser on Earth.
The new laser, called “high peak power laser,” has 1,000 watts of average power output.
While there’s a laser developed in Japan that can reach peak outputs of over 1 trillion watts, this recent pulse laser does not blow everything on one burst, but instead fire sustained, high-energy beams many times over and with more capability than any other technology around.
‘Super Laser’ Introduced
Created by scientists at the British Central Laser Facility (CLF) and Czech state project High Average Power Pulsed Laser (HiLASE), the device — named DiPOLE 100 laser or “Bivoj,” after a legendary Czech strongman — holds great promise in engineering, with applications such as hardening metal surface, producing semiconductors, and micromachining objects.
“It is a world record which is important,” John Collier, director of CLF, told AFP, adding that the technology underlying the laser is going to transform ultra-powered, high-energy lasers’ practical application.
The “super laser” weighs around 20 tons and costs 44 million euros to product, which roughly translates to $48 million. HiLASE director Tomas Mocek revealed that it broke the 1,000-watt “magical barrier” in laser output last December 16, which is a new record for lasers of its kind.
The Czech team has planned to break records since 2011, developing laser innovations in the center for more than four decades now. At present, the facility has five active laser laboratories, making it a force to reckon with in the laser field.
Bivoj is poised to be useful in sectors like automotive, aeronautics, and power.
Mighty Pulse Lasers
In the laser game, there are two highly different types of the most powerful ones. These are pulse lasers, which fire in short and striking bursts, and continuous lasers, which give off constant energy beams.
Apart from Bivoj, there are two other top high-power pulse lasers found in the world: the Texas Petawatt Laser located in Austin, and the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX), boasting of 2 petawatts and found in Osaka, Japan.
While having super high peak power, the two other lasers can only get to that level a number of times a day. These lasers do not have average power, or a mix of repetition rate and energy, Mocek said. The fundamental difference of Bivoj from them, he added, is its highest average power and much greater repetition rate.
While the Texas Petawatt Laser, for example, can have great benefit for probing exotic matter and ultra-high electromagnetic fields, Bivoj can be helpful in stuff like particle acceleration as well as X-ray generation.
The team seeks to launch it commercially by end of the year.
Just recently, too, researchers from the University of Washington in St. Louis captured a photonic Mach cone, a sonic boom of light, in action for the first time in history. They filmed the amazing process using a custom-built “streakcamera,” which is hoped to serve a wonderful purpose in biomedical imaging, which demands ultra-fast imaging capabilities.