The world of lasers just got a lot more powerful and scarier at the same time. The world’s most powerful laser fired in Japan recently with a force twice as big as the last device to hold the title. This new laser is said to only have used the power of a two-second microwave oven cycle.
So, science fiction is becoming science reality. The laser that was the main feature of Star Wars’ Death Star and that destroyed the beautiful planet of Alderaan in just one shot had just about twice the power of this newest device. Scared already? You should be.
But still, there’s no need to fear, as the Japanese researchers from the University of Ottawa are planning to use the laser only for research purposes. However, the power is still impressive. The laser, which was fired for only a trillionth of a second, yet it produced two petawatts of energy. That’s more than the total energy consumption of the world.
However, it will not be mounted upon any militaristic craft and pointed at random targets. Right now, the laser takes up the greater part of 300 feet. Yet, the most amazing thing to realize is how far we’ve come in laser in what a short amount of time.
Only two years back, the biggest laser that was built and tested by Rheinmetall Defense was a 50,000 watt laser. With it, they were able to shoot down an unmanned drone about a mile away. This proved that firing super mega giant lasers from a distance is not only feasible, but can cause a great deal of destruction very easily.
Naturally, this new laser in much more powerful. About ten billion times more powerful. There was an intermediary effort by the Texan researchers at the University in Austin, where they managed to build and test a 1 petawatt laser.
Compared to the Texan device, that of the Japanese, although being twice as powerful in testing, and ten times as powerful in theory, is said to produce one hundred times more energy.
The pico-second shot was so concentrated due to the idea of using glass panels placed in specific areas throughout the 100 meter tube. The next big step for the LFEX is to generate 5 times more power than this initial test. This will be the step making it half as powerful as the Death Star.
With these insane advances in lasers, however relevant scientifically, the ethical dilemma of whether such a device could be used for evil is becoming more and more real. Some are even saying that it is not normal for such a weapon to be able to be made. Then again, it was the same discussion with the atom bomb. And look how that turned out.
Image source: dailymail.co.uk