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petawatt laser

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The University of Texas at Austin says its Texas Petawatt laser  
reached more than one petawatt of power last month, making it  
Earth's most powerful laser. A petawatt is one quadrillion  
watts. Physicist Todd Ditmire, who directs the Texas Petawatt  
project, said the laser is the only operating petawatt laser  
in the United States. Ditmire said the laser has a power output  
more than 2,000 times the strength of all power plants in the  
United States. The laser is brighter than sunlight on the  
surface of the sun, but it only lasts for a 10th of a trillionth  
of a second. The laser will be used to create and study matter  
at some of the most extreme conditions in the universe, including  
gases at temperatures greater than those in the sun and solids  
at pressures of many billions of atmospheres, researchers said.  
The Texas Petawatt Laser was funded by the National Nuclear  
Security Administration, an agency within the U. S. Department  
of Energy.  

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2008/04/08/texas_petawatt/
 

Scriabin

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It should be noted that even if the power is so high, the energy is relatively low.
Don't forget that energy(in Joules) is the measure that show us the real effect of pulsed laser(at least in destructive meaning).
For example, a 1MW watt CW laser is more effective than a 10^15 watt femto-second pulsed laser.
 

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It's petawatt only during it's pulse duration.If you were to measure an average power for a longer period you would have low power.But the point is to get a really powerfull pulse, even if for a short time, just to get some rare phenomena that would not take place otherwise, I guess :p
 

diachi

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i was reading something about this just the other day, funny it should come up bet the guys with that hercules laser are pretty pissed off now xD ;D
 
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Diachi said:
i was reading something about this just the other day, funny it should come up bet the guys with that hercules laser are pretty pissed off now xD ;D
The hercules laser is still the highest intensity laser in the world. They have some pretty advanced adaptive optics and such to get a diffraction limited focal spot size and extremely high pulse contrast ratio. The power in this laser is only twice as much, but if there spot size is only slightly bigger then the intensity is lower. There are several other petawatt lasers in existence right now: Vulcan, Omega EP, Z-petawatt, Firex in Japan and some others that I dont know off the top of my head.
 




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