The World’s Most Powerful Laser

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Do you remember watching Death Star blow up Alderaan in Star wars? If you don’t, refresh your memory below. If you do, watch it again anyway.

This mind-blowing sci-fi explosion may soon be a science reality.

Japan is claiming to have successfully fired the world’s most powerful laser. Researchers at Osaka University developed a 2-petawatt laser beam using a device known as the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiment (LFEX).

The power of the beam is equivalent to 1,000 times the world’s total electricity consumption and it overpowers just about every other system on the planet, following not too far behind the Death Star.

To put that in context, in 2013, Rheinmetall Defense successfully shot down a drone down a mile away using a 50kW laser, which was 10 BILLION times less powerful than the Japanese laser.

While it produced a huge amount of power, the energy required for the beam itself is equivalent to that needed to power a microwave for two seconds.

The team was able to produce such a high output from low energy by only firing the laser beam for 1 pico-second, or a trillionth of a second. To amplify the beam’s power, energy was applied to strategically-placed glass panels along the 328ft-long LFEX device. These glass lamps were then able to focus the beam to boost its energy as it passed through.

We won’t see this LFEX mounted to any trucks or tanks. Researchers plan to use the laser for research purposes only. But it’s amazing to see how not-so-far-behind lasers have become to the movies. So for now, it looks like our planets are safe.

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